A partnership between Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and Station F, the world’s biggest startup campus based Paris, is underway for the development of Qatar’s startup ecosystem, according to France-Qatar Business Council chairman Guillaume Pepy.
“We are starting co-operation between Station F, which is the biggest European incubator in Paris, and the Qatar Financial Centre, and some other financial institutions in Qatar. Station F is a unique showcase of what should be done,” Pepy told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the ‘Qatar-France Business and Investment Forum,” which concluded yesterday.
He said: “There are more than 1,000 digital companies and startups, and they are all gathered in the same place so they can develop their own projects; and also, there is a cross-fertilisation process between the different startups so that they could accelerate their development and the time to market.
“No less than €2.6bn has been invested in France to have startups. It’s much more than in any other European country, and this is the kind of showcase that we would like to share with our Qatari friends.”
Asked which sectors would benefit from the partnership, Pepy said digital transformation and digital business has value for all the different sectors of the Qatari and French economies.
“Take for example in logistics and mobility, digital transformation trenches everything because you can imagine to build unique platforms for logistics or for passenger mobility, which will optimise the use of different modes that will also optimise connection between modes, and at the end of the day, it will reduce the gas emission in the country; and that is a very huge concern in France and also in Qatar.
“But Qatar has also other areas of interest, such as retail, banking, hospitality services, and Fintech. Digitisation is completely changing the way to do business – it is true here in Qatar and in France,” Pepy pointed out.
He also stressed that startups should not be isolated and should work together to interact and discuss technical choices.
In a speech, Pepy said France wants to work with Qatar in the agriculture, logistics, transport and communications, and health. On agro-business, he said Qatar wants to develop its own agriculture and its own autonomy.
“France is bringing expertise here and we are going to sign agreements between French companies and Qatari investors in the field of agro-business. Advanced talks have been held during the forum but no agreements have been signed yet. Perhaps, the signing of agreements would be held in a similar forum that would be organised and held in France in the future,” he said, adding that French companies are keen to set up agro-business manufacturing facilities in Qatar.
In a speech, Qatari Businessmen Association chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani said Qataris investments in France has reached about €30bn in sectors like energy, real estate, hotels, financial services, communications and sports.
“We understand the great importance of the economic and trade relations between the two countries. The state of Qatar is the first investor in the region to invest in France and contributes to some of the most important French companies. Doha is also a destination for French companies and there are a large number of French companies investing in the Qatari market,” Sheikh Faisal said.
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