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Olivier Midière is Advisor to the President of the Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF, the largest entrepreneur network in France) and MEDEF’s Ambassador for the Digital Economy.

Over the past 20 years, Olivier has led many digital and communications companies and associations in France, including as Chairman of the Passport for Digital Economy governmental programme, and as President of the Association for the Digital Economy. He authored ‘The Eagle, Beef and e-Business’, which received the Bordin Prize of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of the Institut de France in 2004.

Olivier Midiere MEDEF

Digital skills and the future of work

“I have just been appointed by the European Commission Leader of the Digital Skills and Job Coalition in France, on behalf of MEDEF. This coalition brings together all stakeholders in this field; government, regions, trade unions, continuing education organisations, NGOs, schools… The aim is to set up digital skills pilot programmes targeting four different groups: ICT professionals, the education sector, the labour force, and citizens.

The idea is to diagnose the needs of digital transformation in each of these groups but also, and above all, to test actions that can then be shared across the whole country. It is an essential challenge for all European countries to ensure that all citizens are included in the current globalisation and digitisation movement by not leaving anyone at the roadside.”

Advocating startups and growing digital businesses in France

“France is a very entrepreneurial country. Sixty per cent of young people want to start their own business. And now the ecosystem to create a startup in France is very developed. With La French Tech, each metropolis is structured to facilitate the creation and growth of startups.

The new government intends to further improve this environment, in particular by creating more incentives for investors and business angels. This ecosystem is also reinforced by all the mechanisms favouring R&D and innovation such as Research Tax Credit, Competitive Clusters, Carnot Institutes, research centres, universities, engineering and business schools, BPI France [Public Investment Bank]…”

Forging international partnerships to learn from innovation ecosystems

“In the context of the Metamorphosis programme, Pierre Gattaz [President of MEDEF] wanted us to propose to the public authorities, and in particular the 2017 presidential election, a strategy for France in digital matters. He appointed me as Digital Ambassador and asked me to go around the world and visit innovation ecosystems.

The objective is to benchmark what exists in the world as an innovation strategy, to meet these experts and set up partnerships, to bring good practices back to France, and finally, to put strategies in place and return to these exemplar countries with business delegations.

I visited 22 countries in 12 months, met over 450 actors with whom we have forged partnerships and formalised a relationship. This allows us to connect the MEDEF member companies with these actors – venture capitalists, incubators, accelerators, government agencies, ministries, universities, research centres, companies…

The missions are completed today, and should enable three types of country partnerships: promoting the industrial and digital development of our SMEs; identifying hubs for our startups; and reporting on the innovative R&D practices of countries such as Japan, Korea or Israel.

Upon the return of each mission, a report on the innovation ecosystem was written. These reports highlight the risks, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses. At the moment, we have 10 reports online with more to be published before the end of 2017.”