France-Ontario innovation agreement [fr]
The event organized by the Consulate at MaRS Discovery District is the beginning of a fruitful collaboration
To conclude the Toronto French innovation Month, this event called "Innovation and Entrepreneurship in France and Ontario – Bringing Out the Best" aimed to foster the discussion between French and Canadians on innovation and bring about local and global actions.
In her speech, Ambassador Kareen Rispal talked about the plans of French Government – making France a startup nation – and recalled recent announcements: the launching of the start-up incubator Station F in Paris, France’s position as the first European country for Venture Capital, fiscal reforms, investments in education etc. She emphasized the partnership signed on October 31 between the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and MaRS in presence of State Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, which will bring an International Expert who will facilitate partnership agreements between Ontarian and French incubators. The Ambassador also mentioned the creation of the “French Tech Talents Toronto”, group made of French working in new technologies that aims to promote French tech.
The Deputy Minister of Economic Development & Growth of Ontario, Mr. Giles Gherson, talked about the efforts made by Ontario to help start-ups grow and develop by attracting investors and expanding internationally. Five panelists then commented on the many ways to support innovation, good practices and opportunities for French and Ontarians alike:
- Ms. Michelle Holland, Toronto Councillor, Advocate for Innovation Economy
- Mr. Sebastien Gendron, Co-Founder & CEO of TransPod, Inc.
- Mr. Derek Newton, PhD, Assistant Vice-President, Innovation, Partnerships and Entrepreneurship, University of Toronto
- Ms. Sarah Prevette, Founder & CEO of Future Design School
- Mr. Vincent Ramoutar, Founder & CEO of uConekt Inc
These discussions show that the link between Paris and Toronto should be deepened since these two cities have mature Tech ecosystem that can make them major innovation hubs in Europe and North America. Speakers cited the interest of developing start-up support programs from both countries, in order to help them discover the French and Canadian markets; joint funding programs and support for finding investors and partners; fostering student exchanges etc. Above all, the role of CETA has been commended in view of the facilitation of staff mobility and the protection of intellectual property on both sides of the Atlantic.