‘We need to highlight the European connection to the global tech ecosystem’ François Bitouzet, managing director of VivaTech tells me about the event’s decision to crown South Korea Country of the Year: ‘we need to make as many connections as possible’. He says they’re drawn to the country’s intimate connections between the startup ecosystem and corporations, as well as the central role government has played in fostering innovation – all things VivaTech is set on powering this June.
François is also keen to stress the French nature of the event, explaining VivaTech is a pan-European event with strong French roots. ‘When we welcome people, we want them to feel unique and special’ – VivaTech wants to avoid the clinical, soulless feel of many events which can feel utterly transactional.
As an accelerator of innovation and transformation, VivaTech will bring together startups, tech leaders, major companies, public organisations and investors from all over the world for four days to respond to the major challenges of our time and to propose decisive solutions for business and society.
Evidencing the impact-focus of VivaTech 2023 is their creation of an inaugural FemTech village. Guiding this important project is Delphine Moulu who runs the young, non-profit Femtech France. Together with her co founders, Delphine’s aim is to accelerate innovation in women’s health in France. There will be two parts to FemTech’s contribution to the event – the first is that 20 FemTech startups will be present within the village. They will showcase their innovations which range from natural breast reconstruction to endometriosis diagnosis. The second takes the form of a challenge, which FemTech founders can apply for, with the prize being the opportunity to attend a bootcamp to train femtech entrepreneurs. This is made up of 20 hours of online class on three topics: gynaecology, the French healthcare system, and the FemTech industry.
Delphine tells me this challenge – and the bootcamp – is particularly important for FemTech specifically, given many of its founders don’t come from an entrepreneurial or healthcare environment. ‘Most of the time [in FemTech], it’s women who had a health issue and decided to leave their job as a lawyer or finance director, to launch their own tech startup and help women around them’. Delphine describes the training as a toolbox to empower women with the right knowledge to get their project off the ground.