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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs launches its start-up incubator

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs launches its start-up incubator

Published on January 31, 2017
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development’s hackathon, held on January 25 and 26, brought together all manner of teams for some 20 hours. They included students, researchers, developers, entrepreneurs and government IT specialists.

The projects presented by the various candidates were notably bold and creative, and the best of them demonstrated remarkable technical qualities.

A jury consisting of outside figures and diplomats bestowed awards upon the following participants:

  • First Prize went to the Livekeep startup, which offers voluntary, dynamic and secure geolocation technology aimed at improving the safety of French people abroad.
  • Second Prize was awarded to the Hornet Makers project presented by engineers from the Ministry’s Information Systems Department. It offers a solution to standardize and facilitate the creation of web applications within the Ministry.
  • Third Prize went to Speakshake, a startup that has developed a fun online platform for practicing languages.
  • A student prize was awarded to Science-Po’s CampFrance team, which offers ways to boost the appeal of French university programs and to revamp our “Study in France” site.

This hackathon provided an opportunity for Jean-Marc Ayrault to announce two new measures aimed at continuing the Foreign Ministry’s digital transformation:

  • The creation of an incubator designed to promote, within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, a genuine culture of innovation in order to accelerate the digital transition under way
  • The Quai d’Orsay is the second ministry to develop this kind of “government incubator”. This streamlined structure will bring selected start-ups to the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in Paris, La Courneuve and Nantes and eventually certain embassies and will provide them with personalized support from computer scientists and developers from the Quai d’Orsay’s Directorate of Information Systems. The goal of this incubator is to generate solutions to satisfy the Ministry’s operational needs. The start-ups in the incubator program will retain intellectual property of these solutions and therefore the ability to market them on a larger scale. Several participants in the hackathon will initially be able to join the incubator in March. A call for applications will then be launched on a wider scale following the hackathon.

  • The appointment of a chief data officer
  • In keeping with the hackathon, the chief data officer’s role will be to coordinate public access to the Ministry’s data and promote the use of this data for the benefit of all. Laurent Garnier, Deputy Secretary-General of the Quai d’Orsay, will fulfil this role.

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