Discours de l’Ambassadeur au lancement de Hello Tomorrow Istanbul – 5 December 2017
Dear President of Tüsiad, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a real pleasure for the French Embassy to be associated for the second year with the Istanbul chapter of Hello Tomorrow. I am very glad to open this event.
You all know that Istanbul has a very special place in the Hello Tomorrow community as Istanbul is one of the 10 cities in the world that has its own annual Summit. It deserves it because Istanbul is a major player in the innovative world. Congratulations, dear Timur, for making it possible once again and for the high quality of the panelists and for the keynote speaker, the CEO of Hyperloop, most certainly a source of inspiration for this audience.
Hello Tomorrow had its origin in France only 4 years ago and since then, it has become worldwide. Its fourth Global Summit was organized in Paris in October 2017 at « Le 104 », one of the great artistic and cultural workplaces in Paris and also a business incubator. It was a huge success as Timur has just mentioned.
In May this year, I had the great pleasure to contribute, with a dedicated event hosted at the French Palace in Istanbul, not only to the active promotion of today’s event but also to the promotion in Turkey of the 4th session of the Hello Tomorrow Challenge, a major component of this Paris Global Summit. And it was not in vain since 3 Turkish start-ups were selected as finalists out of 3500 candidates from 110 countries. This gave them the global visibility that they deserved.
And this is exactly what France wants to do with Turkey in the field of cooperation on innovation. To help boost the already vibrant innovation ecosystem in Turkey, to make it benefit from our 10 years of experience, to foster partnerships between Turkish start-ups but also labs, research institutes and universities with their French counterparts and investors.
This is why we have joined our French Turkish Innovation Days with this year’s session of Hello Tomorrow Istanbul, both focused on Smart cities. Representatives from French universities (Ecole Polytechnique, Lille), incubators (TUBA Lyon), financiers (French Development Agency, French Investment Bank) and big corporations (Alstom, Renault, Thales) met yesterday at Itü Teknokent with academics, students and municipalities from Turkey. They are going to Ankara (Odtü Teknokent) tomorrow. And they are here today to participate in the exchanges and meet with you and the high level panelists of this 2nd session of the Hello Tomorrow Istanbul Summit.
France has much to say about innovation and I am proud to mention that my country has become over these last few years a real hub for innovation and start-ups. Amongst the 100 most innovative companies in the world, 10 are French and most of them occupy a significant place in Turkey. Amongst the ten most innovative government institutions, three of them are French too. France is ranked 2nd in Europe and 6th in the world for the number of patents. It is number 3 for the number of Nobel Prizes and Field medals. Beyond these figures, France has a very dense ecosystem of start-ups (with 10 000 existing start-ups and 1 500 created every year). This is thanks to a strong public policy and to the French Tech initiative which has become a well known brand today. France is home to the world’s biggest start-up incubator, the now famous station F in Paris.
In terms of policy, I’d like also to mention that France has probably the most attractive R&D tax incentive program in Europe, has a public bank dedicated to innovation, BPI France (the French Public Bank for Investment) and welcomes new talents through a whole series of incentives. Last but not least, France’s attractiveness will probably lead to it becoming number 1 in Europe in terms of capital raised on the venture capital market this year.
In the specific field of Smart cities, France is today on the frontline with advanced projects in at least 20 towns, including Lyon and Lille which are participating in our Innovation week. Smart Cities is an exciting subject on which France and Turkey have a lot to share and to do together, as it deals with sustainable building and planning, innovation, energy, transport, agriculture, finance and insurance, digital services, everything at the crossroads of innovation and urbanization.
I hope that the cooperation between France and Turkey will become stronger in smart cities. I wish you a very productive and interesting conference. Thank you very much for your attention.