Interview of Cyril GARNIER (SNCF Développement) : « We wish to build bridges between innovation makers ».

The first edition of the competition « Startup of the year Africa 2017 » organised by Bonjour Idée and OCP ended on 27th january 2017. We asked members of the jury of this first African edition about the reasons of their engagement towards African startups.

Here are the answers of one of the Jury members,Cyril GARNIER, General Director SNCF Développement :

  • Why did you choose to support african startups via the competition Startup of the year Africa 2017 ?

At SNCF Développement, we wish to build bridges between innovation makers. We accompany Kossi ADZO and his competition « Startup of the year » from the very beginning and we’ve felt that something started happening with Africa for the past few months. It is clearly a good moment to support these initiatives, encourage them as they bring solutions for tomorrow for the continent that has the demand for them.

  • Do you think that participation of a startup in this contest can influence its development ? If yes, why ?

Taking into account the success of the previous editions, it is obvious ! And it applies even more to this African edition as the market opening for these startups is huge. The ecosystem is developing, everyone has to find their place. And for this, the visibility offered by this competition is an advantage.

  • Apart from the competition « Startup of the Year Africa 2017 », does your enterprise have any other forms of support to startups ?

We accompany more than 100 startups per year within the framework of our Young Springs Program. It offers them visibility, quality network connections, access to professional training etc. We are also partners in other events, especially related to the promotion of female entrepreneurship.

  • After 2 French editions, Startup of the year is exported to Africa. What did you expect from this edition ? Were your expectations confirmed ?

We were expecting to see major tendances in terms of innovation. We are very glad to see new emerging solutions that capitalise on innovations developed in France and in Europe to facilitate the development of innovations on the African continent.

  • If you could give some advice to those who create a startup, what would it be ?

A product of service are surely important in a project. But the key of success is to know how to create proper business network.

  • What question did we forget to ask ? – What impact can the competition « Startup of the year Africa 2017 » can have on the development of technological innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa?

The question about the means to facilitate the development of innovative solutions in Africa. Big French groups and public institutions play an essential role to support this entrepreneurial movement. We already see brilliant startups like Be-Bound on the frontline of innovation. Supporting their initiatives is of crucial importance.



Bonjouridee Team
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