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BNP Paribas mobilises to fund innovative micro-enterprises and SMEs in the digital economy

The digital economy and innovative start-ups more generally play a decisive role in growth and job creation. This is why BNP Paribas has the ambition to back new businesses by providing best-in-class support for the creation of innovative micro-enterprises and SMEs and offering finance to the digital economy, an area where the group can call on deep and long-standing expertise. A pilot project has been launched in the Paris branches of the BNP Paribas network, committed to making new investment loans to innovative micro-businesses and SMEs totalling up to EUR 5 million between now and end-2012.

The partnership established in late-2010 between BNP Paribas, Atelier BNP Paribas and Le Camping, has brought together two cultures and ways of working behind a shared ambition: to see 8 start-ups through the first six months of their development. The experiment, which is dynamic and leverages complementary skills, has helped BNP Paribas better understand the workings, needs and expectations of start-ups supported by an incubator. It has built a bridge between two communities, which will serve as an interface between start-ups, with their practical needs, and the bank, whose risk management will be tailored to suit the profiles of these very distinctive companies.

Pilot programme in Paris

Following this experiment, the Paris Branches Department decided to extend its commitment to innovative micro-enterprises and SMEs. At the end of the first Camping session, BNP Paribas' Paris Branches made a firm commitment to funding investments in small innovative companies via:
- A EUR 5 million fund for new investment loans to innovative SMEs between now and 2012.
- The launch of a committee to approve specific risks for innovative companies.
- Finally, the Paris Centre Enterprise Board, which is to become a dedicated skill centre for innovative micro-enterprises and SMEs in Paris.

Following Camping's Paris pilot, a national partnership was forged with France Clusters to provide cash support to competitiveness units.

Launched in 2011, Le Camping is a start-up accelerator that takes a fresh approach to supporting new companies in the ICT sector. Focusing on innovative web-based projects or game-changing software, twice a year Le Camping offers 12 selected start-ups the opportunity of an intensive 6-month development programme designed as an original combination of mentoring and emulation to turn their idea into a business. For further information see:

Atelier BNP Paribas is a technology watch unit, which, for more than 30 years, has been encouraging exchanges between BNP Paribas' business lines and the innovation ecosystem, entrepreneurs, incubators, accelerators, investment funds, and putting the large corporate community in touch with new technological applications. The Atelier therefore has a natural interest in Camping, which aims to foster an environment where young and innovative businesses can germinate and flourish.

BNP Paribas is now expanding this programme through a partnership with France Clusters, representing some hundred clusters of businesses and competitiveness poles throughout France. The partnership will underscore our commitment to support competitiveness poles with solutions that secure their cash-flow and bolster their financial security. They can access authorised overdrafts of up to 80% of their public budget for the previous year.

As a real economy bank, BNP Paribas backs and supports this movement, and aims to become the benchmark for digital economy financing. To succeed in this aim BNP Paribas can count on a long-standing presence not only in technology watching, through Atelier, but also in internet and mobile banking.

About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas is one of the strongest banks in the world*. The Group has a presence in more than 80 countries and more than 200,000 employees, including more than 160,000 in Europe. It ranks highly in its three core activities: Retail Banking, Investment Solutions and Corporate & Investment Banking. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail banking model across the Europe-Mediterranean zone and boasts a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Investment Banking and Investment Solutions activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas and solid and fast-growing businesses in Asia.
* Rated AA by Standard & Poor's i.e. 3rd rating level on a scale of 22.

Atelier: Disruptive innovation
The Atelier, BNP Paribas' technology watch unit, is a place brimming with innovation. It is also a media source, publishing daily articles on the web at and broadcasting via BFM radio, and a research and consultancy unit that supports companies in implementing innovative projects. Their watch and analysis resources are based on an international presence (Paris - San Francisco - Shanghai) covering all the world's leading theatres of innovation.