The bank for a changing world

Launch of the WAI “We Are Innovation” label

  • 17.05.2017

BNP Paribas gears up its offer to start-ups and innovative enterprises by launching the WAI “We Are Innovation” label. Developed around 7 major activities, this label confirms and strengthens BNP Paribas' commitment to supporting innovation in France and internationally.

"In 2016, young French creators of new business raised € 2.06 billion. An investment amount, up 21.7% compared to 2015."
Source: CFNEWS, février 2017

A unique label to support innovation

This year, the WAI “We Are Innovation” label - deployed by BNP Paribas in all regions of France and now also developed worldwide. A large-scale programme in France to support innovative entrepreneurship across the country and train corporate investment managers dedicated to the specific needs and expectations of startuppers: finding other forms of funding as an alternative to bank loans, internationalisation, business support… 

In short, a label developed around 7 major activities:

1. WAI BANKING

Banking support for start-ups by an expert adviser



2. WAI VENTURE FUND
3. WAI INVESTMENT FUND

BNP Paribas investing directly and indirectly in the capital of start-ups and innovative businesses

4. WAI BOOST

An acceleration programme: 6 months of cooperation with BNP Paribas mid-cap and large corporate customers


5. WAI LEAD

Personalised support and targeted connections between start-ups and BNP customers, partners and experts

6. WAI CONNECT

Networking events between start-ups and SMEs, mid-caps


7. WAI INTERNATIONAL

Support during the internationalisation phase of start-ups



By deploying the WAI label throughout France, BNP Paribas aims to establish itself in the next three years as the banking adviser for transformation in companies. 

Marie-Claire Capobianco, Head of Networks France and member of the BNP Paribas Executive Committee, says: “Originally designed in 2015 as a place dedicated to innovation, WAI has become a true innovation acculturation offer at BNP Paribas and for its customers. Looking beyond bank funding, our goal is now to support start-ups at all levels of developing their business in France and abroad.” 

WAI has become a true innovation acculturation offer at BNP Paribas and for its customers.

BNP Paribas Développement, an active player with start-up managers

In terms of financing, in May 2016 BNP Paribas further reinforced its positioning by creating a venture-capital business entity dedicated to innovative companies, as part of BNP Paribas Development, a fully owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas Retail Banking in France.

Denis Laplane, Head of the Enterprise Department in France, member of the French Retail Banking Executive Committee and Chairman of BNP Paribas Development, underlines: “With 19 investments, including 9 in seed capital, carried out in less than a year, BNP Paribas Development has positioned itself right from the first year as a highly active player for start-up managers. Our investment culture that is geared to the long term enables us to give them solid, reassuring financial support.”

Support for innovative companies

2 000 start-ups among its customers 

50 millions d’euros invested in new businesses

+100 BNP Paribas employees will be offering daily expertise to the managers and creators of new businesses.

16 WAI Hubs

45 WAI Hubs in our branch network, 
Maison des Entrepreneurs (entrepreneur centres) and Espaces TPE (VSE zones) in the Paris region