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Business startups: London under threat from Paris and others
16 Jul, 2017

Paris is now equipped to attract more innovative companies and dominate Europe’s startup scene following the British vote to leave the European Union, French billionaire Xavier Niel has claimed. Industry correspondent and London4Europe committee member Andy Pye reports.

It is always heartening for Remainers to read negative reactions to Brexit in the right wing popular press. According to a report by Laura Mowat in the Daily Express, French billionaire Xavier Niel Getty – one of France’s richest people – thinks Paris could take over as the startup leader in Europe. Niel opened the doors of a startup mega-campus in Paris this week, called Station F, which plans to house 1,000 start-ups under its 1920s glass arcades.

Station F will have new companies, venture capital funds, a post office, a round-the-clock restaurant and a tax centre, while offering 26 programmes to help out entrepreneurs.

“It is something that is achievable in the coming months,” Neil told the Express. “We’re of course helped by Brexit.” He hopes to attract thousands of technology entrepreneurs, investors and inventors to his 3,000 desks in the centre of Paris.

While both France and Germany have increased their efforts to replace London’s traditional role as Europe’s main centre of business, following the vote for Brexit – Berlin is also being equipped as a startup hub – Dublin, Amsterdam and Frankfurt are also vying to become alternative tech hubs to London.

President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to transform France into a nation of start-ups with business-friendly reforms and the launch of a £9 billion dedicated fund. The French president was a guest of honour at the opening of Station F, where he is reported to have said: “This word ‘entrepreneur’… is a French word, very French, which the Anglo-Saxons stole from us.”