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‘Sovereignty’ is a word used heavily concerning technology companies—especially Big Tech—usually in a way that depicts them impinging on or violating a country’s sovereign ability to tax or regulate such companies.
FREMONT, CA: Emmanuel Macron's laser focus on strengthening French and European technology by investing in startups working on future themes is beginning to bear fruit. Only three tech unicorns existed in France in 2017. By 2022, France will have 26 unicorn start-ups, adding considerable value and future potential to the French economy. 'La France Tech' is France's startup ecosystem, managed by the France Tech Mission, a team within the French government whose goal is to make France "one of the world's greatest venues to develop and grow global enterprises that make sense for our future."
Macron has focused early public support for start-ups working on future-oriented topics, emphasizing the relevance of quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. The government launched a EUR seven billion plan to digitalize France in 2020, with EUR 3.7 billion set up for start-up financing. Most recently, the 'France 2030' plan sought to spend EUR 30 billion on emerging or vital industries such as electric vehicles, renewable energy, robots, and semiconductors to produce "high tech champions of the future." On a continental scale, Macron has set a goal for the EU to create ten tech behemoths worth more than EUR100 billion by 2030.
This financing has aided in developing inventive French unicorns that have had a tangible positive impact on the country. Take, for example, Spendesk, an integrated finance platform for small and medium-sized firms that has helped French SMEs simplify complex administrative issues. For instance, Doctolib, a medical portal that connects the public with medical practitioners, was helpful in scheduling vaccine appointments during the French vaccination rollout. However, these real advantages are not the only justification for promoting a tech-focused start-up strategy. For an aging European nation with an expensive and increasing social safety net, the tax benefits associated with local Big Tech champions are critical. France aims to create "a virtuous cycle - develop, manufacture, export – to finance our social model," according to Macron.