Published on 01 April 2021

How start-ups will help drive the recovery

Innovation will help the industry respond to today’s broader economic challenges such as making local communities more self-sustaining, reindustrialization, internationalization and decarbonization. Along with 25 other large French groups, Orange has just signed a manifesto to support tech start-ups. This commitment is central to our DNA, which encourages entrepreneurship and digital and technological innovation.


Start-ups, powerful engines for future industry

Launched by the professional body France Industrie, the manifesto sets out a common belief shared by several large groups: that tech start-ups have a primary role to play in terms of innovation and breakthrough technology because they are dynamic, progressive for French industry and highly valuable for France’s positioning in emerging markets such as deep tech. Signatories are committed to implementing concrete measures to meet the needs expressed by the ecosystem, such as financial aid, increased technological cooperation or media publicity for partnerships.


Orange, benchmark partner for digital start-ups

Orange, which has just published its own manifesto, “Le numérique, levier d’une relance responsable” promoting business and regional cohesion, has been increasing its support for start-ups over many years. The aim is to leverage digital technology to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive society.

From expert advice and guidance to mentoring, networking and partnerships with our business units, entrepreneurs benefit from a whole host of support from Orange at all stages of their development, in France and abroad. Start-ups in their early development can use our local systems to access resources, run trials, prototype their product or service and take part in our challenges. Once a business has developed a marketable product or service, it can join the Group’s accelerator network of 17 Orange Fabs across four continents. These offer coaching and mentoring programs and support in finding their first customers. Orange also offers more targeted systems such as Women Start, which is dedicated to female entrepreneurship, along with a new acceleration program dedicated to 5G innovation.

For more than a decade, Orange invests in future European and global tech companies. The creation of its dedicated venture capital structure Orange Ventures in 2020 with €350 million confirms the ambition to strenghten this activity. The structure is commited to  financing innovative start-ups in high-growth sectors such as connectivity, cybersecurity, mobile financial services or e-health. It also supports entrepreneurs in the Middle East and Africa as well as positive impact projects through an investment line. To date, Orange Ventures has invested in around 20 mature start-ups and is among the top 10 corporate VC funds in Europe.

Finally, the Group is continuing to expand its network of Orange Digital Centers (ODC) within its local operating markets. Free to access and open to all, these unique tech hubs provide a full range of support, from training young people in coding or digital technology to start-up acceleration programs. As part of its Engage 2025 strategic plan, Orange plans to open 32 ODCs by 2025.