The French-German Chamber of Commerce is running Access2Europe, a European Commission’s H2020 programme, which gives European startups market access within the EU.
They offer a plug&play solution free of charge of up to 3 months for European (non-French) startups to test the French market.
Four European startups are currently supported in their development in France, in collaboration with the HEC incubator.
Through calls for applications that the Access2Europe programme promoted all over Europe, for their second batch, they received applications from 86 startups for 4 available spots. They focused on later-stage startups with a certain track record in their home market and with serious ambitions about expanding into France.
Knowing how challenging it is to participate in such a programme abroad, the team composed of three collaborators, Friedemann LOTZ, Lucia SCHARPF and Philippine TACONET tried to keep it as flexible as possible for the startups.
The programme managers organize dedicated workshops for the batch where experts share their tweaks on how to pitch, fundraise or do sales in France. In addition to that, they rely on the excellent “à la carte” office hours with HEC experts which are very complementary to their workshops and have proved incredibly useful for some of their startups. Moreover, they give support to identify business opportunities and relevant events to get exposure in France. Of course, one of the team’s key goals is to accelerate their business development by connecting them to potential clients, corporates or startups:
“We believe that the HEC incubator offers a unique platform for the Access2Europe startups to soft land in France. In addition to the numerous perks already available at Station F, the HEC incubator brings in a unique network of curated experts who can help our companies refine their go-to-market strategy for France. There is a real community spirit among the 63 startups, and the awesome incubation team is always available with hands-on support – many thanks to Antoine and his team! In a nutshell, we couldn’t wish for a more inspiring and stimulating environment for our startups to grow in France “ explained Lucia and Friedemann.

Start-up #1: Urban Sports Club
  Flavie:  The French-German Chamber of Commerce brought to Urban Sports Club a tremendous opportunity. The team set up numerous workshops for the Access2Europe program. We got to pitch in front of their network and to meet with other startups during the Discovery Tour they organised with key players in France (BlaBlaCar, Paris & Co, Ecole 42). In addition to this, the Chamber offered us to be at the center of the startup ecosystem at Station F for 3 months to accelerate our development in France. Having visibility in this space, being able to host yoga sessions for Station F residents, creating cooperations with other startups and getting PR opportunities has been really key for us.
More than being at Station F, our integration into the HEC incubator is a real chance. The very dynamic team organises breakfasts, events, workshops, afterworks to keep the space lively and the community engaged. There is a real camaraderie amongst startups: you can easily ask for input or feedback from talented people who work in a different field and can bring a fresh perspective to your ideas. Finally, we can get insights and impactful action items from experts of the HEC network during office hours. All of this is a real asset for the incubator community and we are really grateful to benefit from it.
Contact: Flavie Lefèvre, Senior Marketing Manager, +33 6 83 18 30 89, flavie@urbansportsclub.com

Start-up #2: Jedlix
  Guillaume: Some might say that an incubation program is less needed when your startup is scaling up. The Access2Europe programme hosted by the HEC incubator at Station F proves they are mistaken.
Besides the beautiful location, which is a great asset if you receive partners or customers, and the mind-blowing startup spectrum that comes with it, I wish to emphasize the limitless help from Lucia, Philippine and Friedemann. With their experience and support, we managed to start profiting from the programme’s advantages in only a matter of time.
…all this knowing that the programme is only half way through! Jedlix will always be grateful for this.
Contact : Guillaume Vanstraelen, Business Development Analist @ Jedlix Smart Charging, +336 13 84 51 42, guillaume.vanstraelen@jedlix.com

Start-up #3: ProGlove
Benoit: Ever since we joined the HEC incubator through the Access2Europe programme, we have felt very well catered for in all our needs. Our main goal was to gain more visibility in France and to find the right contacts to grow our business on the French market.
The options we were given in those three months ranged from various publications in the French media, workshops with members of the French-German Chamber of Commerce, office hours with alumni from HEC as well as targeted research for industry contacts. We have been able to grow our network not only of potential customers, but also of other startups paving the way in the French startup ecosystem.
Special thanks go to Lucia Scharpf, Friedemann Lotz and Philippine Taconet of Access2Europe for their support over the last months and quick reactions regarding any of our needs.
Contact : Benoit PAYRE, Country Manager France, +4915124298093, benoit.payre@proglove.de

Start-up #4: ParkD
Olivier: Our next stop? Paris! We’ve been selected to receive free office space in Station F and more precisely at HEC incubator thanks to Access2Europe, a project that helps European startups enter and scale up in other EU markets. With our sights on bringing the magic of automatic parking to the whole of Europe, this move opens a fantastic opportunity for us.
Being surrounded by startups and corporates alike gives us a great chance to network with people who know Paris. We’ve already got pilots launching with rental car providers, car-sharing companies and leasing companies who would love to give their customers support in Paris, too.
Contact : Olivier de Clercq, CEO , +32 477 512 163, olivier@parkd.com