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The New Stuff

Looking for a Few Good Entrepreneurs for Competition

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to announce that for the fourth consecutive year, it is searching for bold, fresh, innovative minds to enter its annual entrepreneur competition: the Young Entrepreneur Initiative (YEi). This fall, between six to ten entrepreneurs will be selected to receive some nourishment à la française to get their ventures up and running.

"While the French Ministry is launching this contest in the U.S. with the hopes of fortifying the already long established cross-cultural business relationship between the two nations, candidates do not necessarily need to have U.S. citizenship or be young for that matter," said Antoine Mynard, France's scientific attaché in Boston. "We see the YEi program as a great opportunity to share with American entrepreneurs the wonderful opportunities that await them in France."

Qualified candidates need only be residents of the United States and have a plan for (or recently began) a high-tech venture that has international appeal. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply online at: by Midnight EST on November 29, 2009.

The YEi program helps its laureates strengthen their startup project from the U.S., and to consolidate their plans for France through a large transatlantic network of incubators, mentors, strategic consultants and funding. In addition to accessing the network, all laureates receive a free and organized trip to France enabling them to meet partners and access French funding.

Since its launch in 2005, YEi has attracted 140 candidates and has selected 36 laureates. Ten of the 36 laureates have either already set-up an activity in France or are in the process of doing so. The vast majority of them keep a presence in the U.S., especially for marketing purposes as done by Fruition Sciences, a 2008 YEi laureate.

"The Young Entrepreneur Initiative is an amazing catalyst for businesses wanting to create or expand their operations in France," said Sebastien Payen, co-founder of Fruition Sciences, a company that helps winemakers optimize the quality of their grapes. Through the use of physiological sensors and wireless technology, Fruition is able to provide real-time data on a web-platform to its users. The company was founded in Montpellier, France earlier this year and has recently created a branch in California.

In these last few years France has worked hard to develop its support for innovation and entrepreneurship and is now more than ever able to attract international ventures. This is largely due to a rash of tax incentives and reforms. The French government recently reported that the number of new private businesses launched in June of this year set an all-time record high.