[Luxus Magazine] INTERVIEW. Nicolas Dufourcq – Bpifrance: “We have never granted as much aid to innovation as in 2023”

Bpifrance is the investment bank behind the essential annual event of French entrepreneurship: the BIG (Bpifrance Inno Generation). Nicolas Dufourcq, its CEO, agreed to answer our questions while he was the guest of honor last December at the Chinese Business Club, the leading business network in France.


Having been at the helm of Bpifrance for ten years, Nicolas Dufourcq is set to break the record for longevity in the leadership of this investment bank, as he has decided to sign on for a third five-year term.


The impressive career of this HEC and ENA graduate, who became an inspector of finances, reflects a multicultural curiosity and an acknowledged taste for challenges, combining experience in both the public and private sectors.


The son of an ambassador father and a mother who was a secretary of state, his childhood was immersed in state service and the arts. He spent four years of his life in Japan, another four in the USSR, and more than two years in Brazzaville, Congo. Although he embraced public service from the ages of 25 to 31, his career path also resembles a true odyssey marked by cultural shocks.


In 1994, he joined France Telecom, working for 10 years alongside the management, before becoming an adviser and then director of several branches. He then joined the adventure of Wanadoo as CEO at the time of its stock market listing. In 2003, he spent ten years with the consulting firm Capgemini as director for Central and Southern Europe before becoming the group’s CFO and a member of the COMEX, elevating the company to a global level.


It was in 2013 that he joined Bpifrance, also known as the Bpi, this investment bank regulated by the ECB.


This flagship of 5,000 employees managing 250 million euros in lines remains one of the main supports of innovation and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in France, both financially and in terms of advice and education. Bpifrance indeed manages 8,000 advisory missions. Through its accelerators – real schools for SMEs – the bank integrates 1,000 companies per year. The institution has an important Executive Education program for SMEs, ETIs, and not just startups.


Luxus Plus: At a time when fundraising for French Tech is becoming scarce and complicated by the demand for profitability, has Bpifrance also scaled back its financing of the tech ecosystem in 2023?


Nicolas Dufourcq: Quite simply, thanks to France 2030, we have never granted as much aid to innovation as in 2023: 9 billion euros. This figure represents about the same amount as the long-term credit we provide to companies.


Over the ten years of the Bpi, credit has thus increased from 4 to 9 billion euros and financing for innovation from 500 million to 9 billion euros. From 2024, all our financing products excluding equity (loans, grants, repayable advances) will decrease and stabilize at 5 billion euros per year.


In equity, tech represents 14 million euros under management at Bpifrance while we invest 1.5 billion euros per year in equity in tech. Everything else is financing the French economy.

LP: What about a sector like luxury, which, like aerospace, is particularly popular for export?


Read full article on Luxus Magazine by clicking here.

Featured photo: Nicolas Dufourcq, CEO of Bpifrance © Chinese Business Club

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Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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