Entrepreneurs all around the world are building technologies that empower their communities and address both local and global audiences. Last week, a team of Googlers from 10 countries gathered in Paris to spend time with entrepreneurs and startups at Le Camping, an accelerator program that’s part of Silicon Sentier, an association focused on supporting promising digital projects in the Ile de France region. We celebrated the results of the first two seasons of the program and welcomed the new startups for season three.
Le Camping’s program selects 12 new startups each season (one season lasts six months). They “camp” in what used to be the facilities of the French Stock Exchange, symbolizing the bridge between the old and the new economy. During this time, the “campers” are coached by 60 mentors, mostly entrepreneurs but also engineers. We’ve been working in partnership with Le Camping for the last two seasons to provide hands-on training and mentorship to the 12 companies in each class.
We’ve already seen great success from the program. Out of the 24 teams from first two seasons, 40 percent of the startups have raised funds, 60 percent have paying clients and all of the startups belong to a strong and reliable community. The program does not take equity in the startups or charge them to take part; all that’s required is vision, passion and the desire to address a global audience.
This is just one of our efforts to support entrepreneurs in France. Last year we also launched Startup Cafe, an online platform which provides access to educational video content from several business schools designed for entrepreneurs, tools to help start a business and, with the help of the Agency for the Creation of Entrepreneurs, a map of public organizations that can help entrepreneurs.
We believe that the Internet and entrepreneurship are key drivers of economic development. A study from the European Commission highlighted that small enterprises are the driver for growth and employment: they generate nearly 70 percent of jobs in Europe and 60 percent of economic value added. McKinsey’s "Impact of Internet on the French economy" reported that when French SMEs use more web technologies, their growth is faster, their operating revenues are higher and their profitability is stronger.
We look forward to continuing to support entrepreneurship in France and are excited to follow the progress of the teams in season three of Le Camping: Home’n’go, Explee, Sketchfab, ForgetBox, Stormz, Fleex, Veezio, JellyNote, Augment, Webshell, Poutsch, Whale Street. Stay tuned!