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International startup ecosystem hub French Tech, has launched its first incubator in SA. Located in Century City, Cape Town, the incubator is also the first of its kind in the French Tech system.
“This building really is the first physical incubator in the worldwide French Tech network,” says lead ambassador of French Tech CPT Hub, Christophe Viarnaud.
When asked about why the incubator launched in SA as opposed to other African countries, Viarnaud told Ventureburn this was due to the financial and legal system being easier to navigate, as well as English being the primary language.
It is one of 22 French Tech branches worldwide, including another on the African continent, in Abidjan.
The event consisted of a range of talks given by several speakers, such as the provincial minister of economic opportunities, Alan Winde, consul of France in Cape Town, Xavier D’Argoeuves, and CEO of Wesgro, Tim Harris.
Viarnaud added that it is important for French Tech to foster black entrepreneurs as well.
What the incubator offers
Viarnaud went on to say that the aim of the incubator is not only to connect entrepreneurs from France and SA, but to find funding for these startups by connecting them with investors.
It will also provide startups with coaching, mentoring, digital services and the resources needed to nurture the companies.
The facility will house digital marketing specialists, business analysts, a CTO and a range of other specialists for startups to utilise.
Those selected for incubation will be able to apply to a range of programmes, such as working in Paris for a year.
French Tech also provides a co-working space for startups to use, which will require a monthly usage fee.
The criteria for incubation
French Tech looks at startups in their early stage for the incubation programme. They will look at the quality of the idea and its feasibility, as well as the viability of the business model.
Viarnaud stressed how important the startup’s team is, which is a key factor in the incubation decision.
“Sometimes, we’ve made investment decisions because of the quality of the team.”
The future of French Tech in SA
French Tech has plans to launch an incubator in Johannesburg as well in 2017.
“Joburg is the city of all of the key businesses. It’s also a thriving environment with a lot of entrepreneurs, lots of black entrepreneurs.
“We have plans to open a sister incubator in Johannesburg in 2017, similar to this one.”
Even so, Cape Town will remain the flagship space for incubation in SA.
“Clearly we believe Cape Town is the Silicon Valley in Africa.”
French Tech is also planning a startup conference in 2017, which is tentatively titled the French Tech Africa Conference.