Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Paris Is Putting "Entrepreneur" Back Into The French Language

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 30, 2013

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There's a story that George W. Bush once said, "The problem with the French is that they have no word for 'entrepreneur.'"

It's more of a Yogi Berra-ism because it's kinda true, the French culture has seemed very anti-entrepreneur and suspicious of anyone trying to make money and build a business.

If you are running a startup your own mother might keep it under wraps  -- she'd be far prouder if you had a job at a big corporation such as French Telecom.

But things have changed quite a bit over the past five years or so. My visits to Paris, and my work with Pearltrees,  have confirmed that there is a thriving startup scene over there that feels very familiar to the one here.

Liam Boogar, a reporter for Rude Baguette, which focuses on the Paris startup scene, makes a good case for reminding the world that, "entrepreneur" is still very much a French word.

I held my tongue during my fireside chat with Soundcloud CEO Alexander Ljung as he said the only cities he thinks anyone should start a company in are Berlin & London – I get it, Paris isn’t the most connected city. I even nodded politely during my 30 minute interview with Gary Shapiro as he told me fake facts about French labor laws, clearly reflecting a bad experience he had many years ago, which he had not bothered to check in the past 10 years…

Here’s the deal: from Business Objects to Criteo, Sparrow to Exalead, Dailymotion to Viadeo to Deezer, I wager that France puts out more $100M startups than Berlin (easy!) and even London, if you stop counting video game companies (where Ubisoft and Gameloft still rank top in gaming) and agencies.

From: Euro-Centric: A review of The Next Web Conference

Please see: 16 Startups selected for Ubifrance's French Tech Tour to the Silicon Valley, including DocTrackr, Sush.io & Wimi

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