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The next Silicon Valleys? How French, UK govts stimulate the startup scene

Governments are often seen as a nuisance in business, but this is a jaded view. Responsible and engaged governments are able to do amazing things for a country’s startup scene. Most countries outside the US want to mirror the success of Silicon Valley, the undisputed king of tech innovation.

Nicolas Princen is French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s “digital man”. He has spoken about the ways the French government is stimulating its local startup scene and “helping startups grow”. The internet economy contributes about 6% to French GDP, he estimates, but affects and enhances more than 80% of the economy.

  1. Tax cuts for startups: No taxes are paid for the first four years of a startup’s life.
  2. The government has created specific tax cuts for innovation and R&D.
  3. Launched an open data platform: www.data.gouv.fr

In the UK, the government has invested 9-billion pounds into TechCity, a tech hub for startups. Eric Van Der Kleij who heads it up, says the point of TechCity is to “amplify existing cluster of tech and businesses” and it “boasts extraordinary infrastructure and broadband”. The other things the UK government is doing to boost entrepreneurship is:

  1. Created an “Entrepreneurs Visa” — an entrepreneur can move to the UK with just 50 000 pounds of investment from an accredited VC or incubation accelerator
  2. The first 10-million pounds of capital gains from a startup gets a tax rebate
  3. There are tax credits for R&D for startups
  4. On the investor side, UK tax payers who put money into early stage companies get tax breaks

Author | Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter

Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter
Nur is an enigma with a passion for creating words. He recently entered a love affair with technology and chorizo sausages. He travels a lot -- you catch him, if you can, at a Silicon Cape event every now and again. More


  1. Fanie Oosthuysen

    December 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

    It is not a Jaded view as proven by your article. The best a government can do for business is get out of its way (tax cuts, reduced compliance requirements, rebates).

  2. Pingback: How French, UK govts stimulate the startup scene | Tax law blog

  3. Pingback: The next Silicon Valleys? How French, UK govts stimulate the startup scene | TechMeetups

  4. brett charlton

    January 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    well done fanie oosthuysen, you brought a lot to the table with that comment. 

  5. Pingback: The other Silicon Valleys [Infographic] | memeburn

  6. Pingback: Fresh From Twitter - MEDO

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