“It is never the States that create start-ups”, recalls the economist Elie Cohen

The New Factory. – Can industrial start-ups renew the productive fabric more than large companies?
Elie Cohen. – You have to rely on both. This is the bet of the France 2030 program, which combines several types of action: adapting the production processes of existing companies, simulating innovation in new sectors such as hydrogen, batteries, quantum, etc., and deploying a specific action for start-ups via calls for expressions of interest or support from dedicated funds. The panoply is wide and the range of interventions complete. The plan does not choose to favor a particular sector or size of company, nor does it arbitrate between reindustrialization and industrialization through innovation, between direct state intervention and mediation.

You call for a new productive model, what is it?

We have lived on a just-in-time free trade model, favoring industrial efficiency alone. Several alerts have shown that this model was not satisfactory: September 11, the tsunami in Japan where the components ran out, the Chinese attitude to politicize the trade in rare earths, the Covid… The security imperative is now weighed against competitiveness and challenges globalization as it was practiced. We discovered that manufacturing a vaccine required a considerable number of elementary operations in many countries and that the very tracing of this process was not certain. Specialization rules have led some countries to hold virtual monopolies, whether India and China for active ingredients or Taiwan for silicon foundries.

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