France's Jospin Comes Out as Incubator

PARIS (04/14/2000) - At the closing of the forum on business creation on April 11, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin announced a series of measures for the purpose of encouraging the financing of innovation and of high-tech businesses.

Particularly, a second public fund of venture capital will be created, endowed with more than a billion French francs (US$145 million), and support for startup funds and incubators will be reinforced with 100 million French francs ($14 million).

While pampering researchers and entrepreneurs, the government is not forgetting "business angels" since the latter will now be able to benefit from a tax deferment each time they invest in small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

"Creating a business must become easier, cheaper and more secure," Jospin said.

In this regard, the Agency for Enterprise Creation (APCE) will publish a "kit" for those who want to start a business, which will contain items such as information about bylaws and applications for funds and which will be published in the form of an Internet portal. The kit will be published before the end of the year.

But Hervé Arditti, president of the Richelieu committee, an association of 220 startups, thinks the prime minister's plan is missing three points. First, a stock-options plan; Arditti says that it puts startups at a disadvantage when they are recruiting.

Second, "the deductibility of the capital as a work tool only works for bigger businesses."

Finally, the law on public markets should be revised. "The state could be a powerful tool of industrial policy favoring small businesses," he said.

Other industry observers, however, would like to see a fiscal plan for private investors, an entrepreneur school and a collection agreement for young businesses.

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