Outre Mer Network: the program for startups from French overseas territories
Many of you already know that we have 26 different programs currently up and running at Station F. Each of these programs is dedicated to a specific topic — like cybersecurity, medtech, fashiontech, artificial intelligence and more. We’ve also mentioned before that we have some programs specifically dedicated to international startups, like OuiCrea’s France-China program or Numa’s program for international startups.
But what about startups from places like Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion Island?
While all of our programs accept startups from around the world, we have a specific program on campus run by Outre Mer Network (OMN) that is specifically for startups coming from French overseas departments and territories. Entrepreneurs from these locations are often underserved and overlooked, despite their being a huge interest in entrepreneurship. According to Daniel Hierso, who runs the OMN Program, the startup mortality rate is higher in these overseas territories in part because of the small domestic markets and absence of investment to help support their growth. This is why we are incredibly pleased to host the OMN program and contribute to the growth of their startups.
The OMN Program
The OMN program will host 18 different startups from a variety of different sectors (greentech, smartgrid, drones, marketplaces, etc.), many of which will arrive in October. For the moment, the majority of the OMN startups come from Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion but the program strives to become a true hub for startups coming from all of the overseas territories. In order to participate in the program, startups pay €150 euros per month per desk, which is less than what it costs to participate in Station F’s own Founders Program (€195/desk/month). Most startups stay 3 or 6 months but some startups come for only several weeks and other stay an entire year. Naturally the program is flexible to provide for the differing needs of the startups — but there is a huge push to help them go international and to put them in touch with large corporations if they are in the B2B space.
Bananas, microalgae and solar-powered drones.
If you’re unfamiliar with startups coming from these locations, it may be hard to imagine what types industries they address. According to Daniel, overseas territories are particularly strong in a number of areas, including energy storage, biomass, microalgae and photovoltaic solutions, e-health and even videoconferencing.
We find a lot of these industries covered by the startups selected for the OMN program. For example, one of the startups selected for the program is called Sunbirds (based in Reunion and Toulouse) develops 100% solar-powered drones. Another selected startup, Bioalgostral (also coming from Reunion) develops next generation biofuels from microalgae. Or Kadalys (based in Martinique), another selected startup developing cosmetic products from banana extracts — and currently sells alongside brands like Dior in Korea and Japan.
There are many more incredible startups that made the cut and that have huge international potential. To be honest, I never imagined such innovative projects would come from these locations — some of these projects really blow my mind. We look forward to welcoming them all to Station F — and working with lots more entrepreneurs from these regions in the future.