[CES 2021] Commentary Business France has redesigned its support for French Tech start-ups

“It is essential to support companies on an event that has also been renewed”, assures Eric Morand, director of the digital technologies and innovative services department of Business France. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the consumer electronics show, which is normally held in Las Vegas, will be 100% digital this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A major change that does not seem to have slowed down the young French shoots too much.

130 French start-ups and SMEs
Business France supports 110 start-ups on the digital version of CES (the complete list can be found here), compared to 160 last year. “A drop of only 25% against 60% for the number of exhibitors worldwide”, slips Eric Morand, since the CES lists 1,500 virtual stands against 4,500 stands in its physical version. In total, just over 130 French companies will be present, making France the third delegation after China and South Korea.

As in previous years, and quite logically, the most represented sector remains the IoT with the connected home, connected leisure, solutions related to family and childhood. The rise of start-ups offering solutions in the health and well-being sector is confirmed, as is the breakthrough of nuggets linked to Tech For Good (energy saving, respect for the environment, mobility sweet).

Upstream work
If Eric Morand deplores “the absence of chance encounters”, he adds that Business France worked upstream to highlight the nuggets of French Tech during this digital event. The public establishment has been contacted by major buyers in the United States, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and certain European countries in order to introduce them to French start-ups and invite them to their digital stand. And the fact that the CES platform remains open until February 14 may also offset this lack of physical meetings.

Business France has adapted its coaching and preparation for this new offer. “The focus was on how to successfully exist on a digital platform by being well referenced in the search tool, by offering all the right marketing elements on its page (videos, photos, product presentation documents)”, explains Éric Morand. In total, Business France carried out 7 coaching sessions which lasted up to 3 hours.

“The physical remains essential”
As to whether all shows have a virtual future, Eric Morand assures: “I don’t think the CES is going to set the tone. The physical remains essential”. Business France is vigilant on all these subjects since the establishment regularly accompanies delegations to trade fairs or organizes business missions (accompaniment of a delegation of a few start-ups in a given country).

In 2020, Business France held only 40 physical trade shows compared to 150 the previous year. For this year, the trend is also digital since only ¼ of the events are planned in physics for the first semester.

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