Professional networks are very important for the development of your startup. If some entrepreneurs allow themselves not to develop it, startups cannot. So there are two ways to build a network. Private networks and public networks or clubs. We will focus on public networks because private networks are built by all of your personal contacts. You are surely looking for structures dedicated to this activity.
It is quite difficult to find these professional networks on the internet. It takes hours of research because you have to have the right keywords. But we have done the work for you :). In this article, we list the different ways of networking.
Networking is essentially about meeting people. To meet people, you need a place and a reason to meet. That’s why events are so essential for startups. At these events they build their network. The meetups are informal evenings to meet other startups and make contacts. They can be organized by any actor in the startup world, be it the startups themselves or the incubators. But they are most often organized by those who know the most people.
Meetup is a networking platform. It lists the meetups organized in all cities in France. You’ll find meetup for Startups but also for any other topic that interests you. We advise you to attend the meetup of “The family” or “le Wagon Paris”.
Networking clubs and groups
These are structures that aim to allow entrepreneurs in one or more sectors to meet and help each other. Networking ! The ultimate goal of these clubs is of course the development of the members business. For some clubs, there is a fee to join. You can find networks such as :
- The Galion Project. I can’t explain to you their “Move”. So I make you a copy and paste of their own word. Today, we are more than 300 entrepreneurs with a common ambition: to become world leaders in our fields and to contribute to a better world by carrying an innovative, ambitious and responsible Tech business model. Our community is based on mutual aid and caring, where we share best practices and knowledge on subjects of expertise. A network that sounds very friendly !
- Nelson is a networking workshop initiated by the CCI of Ile de France . It brings together leaders from the world of technology and digital. The goal is clear, they are there to network.
- Insurtech France is a group of insurance and technology companies. They don’t say it but they are a network of startups which aims to exchange, federate, accompany and promote their member.
- Pépite France is a network supported by the Ministry of Higher Education for student entrepreneurs. Through 29 centers scattered throughout France, student entrepreneurs are supported in the creation of their project. The Ornikar Startup is one of its representatives. Dear students, become nuggets!
- Synintra. This collaborative platform is like the thread that brings together incubators and creates a community around entrepreneurs. It proposes a special networking offer to startups for more business opportunities.
- Techfugees. Building a network is also the matter of refugees. Far from what people think of them, Techfugees is an INTERNATIONAL organization that values them and gives them the opportunity to share on ways to develop a business and promote their inclusion. If you are a foreigner looking to settle in the world of the French startup, you will be welcomed, listened to and helped.
- SINGA is in the same shades as Techfeeges. It is aimed at refugees and wants to give them the opportunity to create links between them and their host society. Its links are created through entrepreneurship, meetings (networking) and the melting pot of different cultures.
Incubators and Accelerators
Incubators and accelerators are support structures. They advise, host, train and finance startups during their development. They also offer to connect startups to a network of professionals and experts able to help them. Some of them have better developed their network. And as the startup community is concentrated in the French capital, most of the incubators with large networks are located in Paris. Here is a list of the most influential ones.
- Station F, the largest incubator IN THE WORLD, is a hub of the French startup sphere. At the initiative of Xavier Niel, this incubator has many partnerships with major brands such as Ubisoft, l’Oréal, Facebook and others. The incubator hosts more than 1000 startups. It is a network in itself, so imagine the relationships it has been able to develop with so much weight!
- The Family has an inclusive strategy. Its strategy is to educate its startups in the acquisition of knowledge. The spirit of the incubator is based on solidarity and sharing just like in a family. By joining this incubator you will surely make a lot of key relationships. They bring out something special that I will let you discover. Everyone knows them.
- Paris&Co is not an incubator but the economic development and innovation agency of Paris and its metropolis. It federates more than 500 French startups that make up its networks. There is no shortage of relationships.
- Numa, formerly known as Camping, is one of the best known incubators in France. Moreover, it has an international reputation as it has branches in capital cities such as New York, Mexico City, Barcelona with more than 70 partners such as Air-France or Twitter. For sure, they know people.
- Day one is created by seasoned entrepreneurs who make their expertise available to the new generation. Mentoring of startups is the spearhead of their service. They are interesting because they organize an annual meeting to put everyone in contact. Apart from this event, you will find several opportunities to build a network.
- The Village by CA is an incubator created by the regional branches of Crédit Agricole. It has a national but also international scope. It incubates more than 800 startups and has villages scattered throughout France. These villages allow it to create a network and are actors energizing the territories in which they are located.
- The French Tech is not really an incubator but the French startup movement. At the initiative of the French government, it brings together a community of startups but also investors and community builders. It is a national label that startups are acquiring. You want to have a startup in France? Get closer to them.
There are associations whose aim is to develop the growth of companies. These are particularly aimed at innovative companies and VSE. So the startups as a small business can benefit from their support.
- Réseau entreprendre aims to create VSEs and ETIs. It provides its companies with a network of volunteer business leaders. Their service is based on the free, reciprocal spirit and the importance of the person rather than the project.
- The BGE wants to democratize the practice of entrepreneurship and make it accessible to all. It has created a network for the purpose of sharing. And this is done through speed business meetings near you, a directory of entrepreneurs in your region and forums to discuss many other things that I will let you discover.
Social networks are not to be outdone. They contribute to networking by self-help groups dedicated to startups. These groups can be found on Facebook.
- French startups is the best known of them. With 35,000 members, this private group allows you to share your experience, ask questions, meet your future partners and post ads or offers.
- French Startupers Network (FSN) is of the same kind as the previous group. It is private and aims at sharing and helping startupers.
The institutional ones
These are organizations set up by the French state for the development and growth of innovative companies. Being aware of the importance of a network, these organizations will put you in contact with the right people through their national network.
- CCI or the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in France, is in charge of representing the interests of commercial companies. It knows a territorial subdivision and by city. Depending on the city, support and networking programs are offered. Please get in touch with the CCI of your city to make sure.
- AFE, the France entrepreneur agency or BPI France aims to facilitate entrepreneurship by providing entrepreneurs with the necessary information and resources. Through its “Welcome” program, the agency proposes to put you in touch with players who can contribute to your development.
Self-help networks for women
Because there is not yet gender parity in the entrepreneurial and start-up world, there are networks dedicated specifically to women to help them overcome the various obstacles to the development of their business. Here is a list :
- Bouge ta boîte is designed for women entrepreneurs and allows them to meet regularly to exchange ideas. They meet in circles of 10 to 25 people and the network counts 175 circles throughout France. Entrance fees are payable and amount to 490€.
- Willa is not a network but an accelerator dedicated to women. Its vocation is to seek, find and accompany future startup champions. She will accompany you in overcoming the obstacles to gender parity in the entrepreneurial world.
- Girls in Tech is a non-profit organization. It is committed to narrowing the gap between men and women in the world of Tech, according to their word. It is an international network. The organization offers mentoring, events and boot camps to help startups get off the ground. Ladies, go straight to them!
- We are SISTA is a time bomb. Their website and their offer is under construction. I direct you to this article which explains their aspirations. Founded by 22 SISTAs from all walks of life, this gathering of women aims to feminize investment. Their objective? : That 10% of the funds allocated to financing companies be given to women business leaders. Their strength lies in the fact that they all hold rewarding positions in the world of technology.
It is true that this article is long. Of course we have not listed all the clubs that exist. We would have liked to 🙁 . The problem with the networks themselves is that they don’t shout their presence on the rooftops. You have to be part of this startup world to be able to know about the existence of networking clubs. Basically, you have to be part of a network in order to know if there are networks that exist and that you can join. It makes you dizzy. Anyway, with the above selection, you can get started and reach surprising opportunities.