BNP Paribas launches “Innov&Connect”, the first banking programme entirely dedicated to innovation, aimed at connecting startups and mid-sized businesses (MSBs) in France and supporting their growth. Two locations will be opened in early 2015: We Are Innovation (WAI) and WAI Paris Massy-Saclay. These spaces will accommodate startups and MSBs to foster their development and to facilitate meetings between them.
This move is part of the “BNP Paribas Entrepreneurs 2016” plan, in line with BNP Paribas’ commitment to supporting innovative entrepreneurship in France. This follows numerous other initiatives in this area. The Group has set up 15 Innovation Centres, consisting of specialised teams that provide services dedicated to innovative companies. BNP Paribas’ actions have an impact throughout the startups’ life cycle.
In particular, BNP Paribas supports crowdfunding organisations that support the creation of startups, such as Ulule, the no.1 crowdfunding organisation in Europe, which connects entrepreneurs and sponsors, and Wiseed, the European marketplace that makes it possible to finance innovative startups by mobilising individual investors’ savings via the Internet.The Group also invests in seed funds, which help startups to take their first steps, located across France.
BNP Paribas organises operations that help innovative companies to achieve greater visibility, such as Parlons PME (Let’s talk about SMEs), a short televised programme broadcast on parlonspme.fr, and the mapubici (my advertising) communication operation that makes the window displays of 2,200 BNP Paribas agencies available to showcase entrepreneurs, as well as the documentary We Love Entrepreneurs, which celebrates innovative entrepreneurs.
Together, these efforts are part of the Group’s positioning as “The bank for a changing world”, which encourages and supports innovation in all its forms.