The Embassy of France in South Africa and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) are implementing the Young Enterprise Initiative South Africa (YEI SA), focused on providing South African start-up companies with the opportunity to develop and grow their businesses in France. The global YEI Programme is organised by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with Hello Tomorrow.
France has strong research, development and innovation hub in Europe and has the highest number of start-ups in Europe. France is also ranked first in Europe in terms of the number of innovative structures by the Thomson Reuters TOP100 innovators ranking. In 2018, France was the largest European delegation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. With French 160 companies present, the delegation was second only to the USA.
YEI SA is an accelerator programme that is aimed at enabling science-based, early-stage SA companies to get to know the French research and innovation environment and to provide market access opportunities in French and global markets. The enabling environment will not only contribute to the increased global competitiveness of the SA companies but also assist the French technical experts from a network of incubators to identify and nurture innovative technologies.
In 2019/20 YEI South Africa will be implemented in parallel with similar programmes in the USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Singapore and Taiwan. The Programme provides an opportunity for selected start-up companies and young enterprises to participate in an acceleration programme within the French ecosystem. To do this, in late 2019, three (3) South African companies will be selected to benefit from this programme and travel to France in early 2020 to attend the 2020 Hello Tomorrow Global Summit and spend a further personalised week in France to meet with potential partners, connect with the best resources and set up business operations.