Please introduce yourself, your organisation and your role
I am Antoine Trotet. I work for Invest Eastern France which supports foreign companies to expand into the Eastern France region (Grand Est region in French). Invest Eastern France belongs to Grand Enov+, the innovation and international prospecting agency of the Grand Est region.
The Eastern France Region is a region of 5.5 million inhabitants and a GDP of €167 billion, located in the heart of Europe with 200 million consumers within a 600 km radius. Its cross-border positioning with 800 km of borders with Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg in one of the most high-tech corridors in Europe opens up particularly attractive commercial prospects and partnerships for international companies. Our main cities are Strasbourg, Nancy, Metz, Mulhouse, Troyes, and Reims (an area well-known to champagne lovers).
Before Invest Eastern France, I was the digital and startup manager of the Eastern France regional government. I have a background in management. I have been working for years on digital, innovation and public policy projects that shape the innovation landscape and drive impactful change. I am based in London. My role is also to develop our activities in Canada where we opened an office last May.
How does your organisation support and/or work with startups and scaleups at present?
We support startups and scaleups in many ways. Invest Eastern France is a team of 15 experts in Agtech, bioeconomy, CleanTech, digital health & MedTech, renewable energies, industry, tourism, construction, and logistics which are all growing sectors in the Eastern France region for international companies. We help scaleups throughout their expansion journey: we give them access to talent, partners, funding, local opportunities, and sites/offices to set up their activities. We work closely with incubators, universities, clusters, consultants, lawyers, and local agencies who can provide scaleups with all advice, tips and introductions they might need. We do it for free as we are funded by the regional government.
Our parent organization, Grand E-Nov+, is in charge of the regional accelerator Scal’E-nov which supports scaleups in their growth with a complete program (go-to-market, coaching, strategy, financing). This program is open to foreign scaleups which set up their activities in our region.
We also participate in European projects and European networks in many different technology-focused areas involving our scaleups.
Why did you decide to support the Super Connect for Good 2023 Competition as a Judge? What are you looking for from the applicants and what tips would you give them?
Our economy is facing incredible challenges: decarbonization, digitalization, climate changes, energy, resources shortage, sustainability, reindustrialization… Tech provides solutions to these challenges. We want to welcome these new technologies in our region to tackle these challenges and create value.
That’s why we are happy to be a partner and judge of the SCFG 2023 to discover new solutions and meet the entrepreneurs and their teams. I am looking for applicants truly passionate and convinced that they can change the world and bring value to end users and to society.
But at the same time, it is important that this ambition is supported by a realistic roadmap, considering the competitive landscape.
In your opinion, what impact will technology have in creating a better future? To what extent do you feel that tech startups and scaleups can contribute to society’s greatest challenges
Technology has a real impact on creating a better future. As previously mentioned, the challenges are enormous, but the capacity of global technology to meet these challenges has never been greater. Startups and scaleups can make a decisive contribution, but they cannot do it alone. They need the support of universities, large companies through open innovation, public bodies, investors, and super connectors like Super Connect for Good.