Supporting social innovation and entrepreneurship

The world is changing and digital is accelerating the changes. Today it is no longer a question of being able to adapt or not, we have to dream up new systems – modus operandi based on balances that are open, dynamic and rooted in contemporary society.
As a true Internet era operator, Orange is profoundly concerned by questions of change. Wherever we operate, we seek to advance local economies and we foster the emergence of new models to create shared value through our policy of encouraging open innovation and social entrepreneurship.


Roadmap 2016-2020


Working with local innovation ecosystems

Our hyper-connected world means it is today possible to open up and work with talents from all walks of life so as to be more inventive, more efficient, and hence more competitive. This approach has a name: Open Innovation. Orange practices it on a daily basis with digital market leaders, other operators, researchers, entrepreneurs, charities, NGOs, students, start-ups, and more. It is thanks to the wealth of interactions between players from different backgrounds that innovation capacity can grow for the benefit of the greatest number.

Our goal is to build a powerful, open ecosystem in France and Europe as well as in the US and Africa. In emerging markets, our ambition is coupled with a legitimate desire to contribute to local economic and social development. As a world leader in ICT, a major employer, and a growth stimulator par excellence, we feel this is our natural duty.Aux côtés des écosystèmes d’innovation locaux.


Support for startups

By 2020, Orange aims to be supporting 500 start-ups around the world via a range of programmes. To this end, the Group is deploying dedicated platforms such as incubators, accelerators and social innovation sites to accompany and support young companies leveraging the new technologies to develop innovative services with high social impact. That’s why we set up Orange Fab, our global network of start-up accelerators, to allow their creators to focus on growth and launch their services around the globe. In addition to logistics and financial support, we make our expertise in the telecommunications industry and that of mentors from local technology ecosystems available to them.Le soutien aux startups

Our partnership with Paris-based social innovation incubator La Ruche (The Hive) delivers on our policy of support to French social entrepreneurship.

In Africa and the Middle East Orange has launched five incubators, in Senegal (CTIC), Mauritius (EBENE), Niger (CIPMEN), Mali (CREATEAM) and Guinea (SABOUTECH), using an innovative and inclusive model that brings together public and private sector with civil society. In March 2016 the Group, with its local subsidiary Sonatel, launched the first Senegalese venture-capital fund: Teranga Capital will provide an innovative solution to meet SME finance requirements, with funding of €75,000 to €300,000 per project.

  1. Incubating and sharing social innovation
  2. Emulation and creativity to dream tomorrow’s Internet of things
  3. European start-up and the Hello Tomorrow Challenge (in French)


See our detailed studies:

  1. The booming incubators
  2. Africa sees life in digital


At the centre of the Group's innovation strategy, and fully aligned with our Corporate Social Responsibility policy, we support and encourage numerous challenges, such as the Datavenue challenge, to stimulate healthy competition around social innovation and bring together as many actors as possible to focus on the digital challenges driving the world. In Africa, in 2011 Orange set up the Prix de l'Entrepreneur Social en Afrique, which aims to promote social innovation for development using ICTs.

In 2015, the prize experienced increasing popularity: 17 participating countries, 608 applications received (452 in 2014), 117,855 votes as part of the “coup de cœur” prize and 22,430 for the 2015 winning “coup de cœur” project.

Since 2011, 21 projects have benefited from Orange’s financial support and expertise, and 15 out of 16 winners selected by a jury of experts are still operating and continuing to develop their business. The major winners this year were the start-ups Bassita (Egypt), upOwa (Cameroon) and MyAgro (Mali), the “coup de cœur” prize going to Kezakoo (Morocco).

find out more

  1. Orange African Social Venture Prize -
  2. Winners of the 2014 Orange African Social Venture Prize


Dedicated financing funds

In 2015 Orange added a final element to its Open Innovation strategy with the launch of Orange Digital Investment, which pulls together its investment activity around start-ups with the dual aim of generating financial profit and improving the offers delivered to customers. This involves managing the Group's participation in external funds, managing digital corporate development activity, and running the Group's internal Orange Digital Ventures fund. Set up in 2015 with funds of €100 million, it invests in innovative start-ups with the potential to transform uses or anticipate business models in the fields of new connectivity, the Internet of Things, FinTech, and so on. By the end of 2015 it had already supported seven start-ups, giving them access, as well as funding, to the Group's customers and expertise.

find out more

  1. Supporting innovative digital ecosystems
  2. Training people for tomorrow's digital jobs