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Facebook launches 'Startup Garage' in Paris

The company's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has praised Paris as "a city of new ideas." The announcement positions the French capital as an attractive option for startups outside of London.

In announcing Facebook's participation in what she hoped would become the world's largest startup campus, Facebook's Sandberg said on Tuesday that the company's Parisian program would help "independent startups that contribute to the data economy of France and Europe."

The social media giant's program, named "Startup Garage," will be housed in the Station F campus, a 34,000 square-meter (366,000 square-foot) tech incubator located in a former railway depot in the 13th arrondissement. French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel financed the transformation of the building and grounds. There, Facebook will nurture five startups whose products use data to improve society in areas of daily life including health, education, and transport.

The selected startups will receive six months of personalized coaching in marketing, product design, and technology development, an investment valued at "millions of Euros," according to Sandberg. Facebook hoped to expand the number of participants to between 10 and 15 in the future, she announced.

"Entrepreneurs are the engine of economic growth here in France and around the world," Sandberg said.

Faszinierender Blick über Paris vom Montmartre Flash-Galerie (picture-alliance/dpa)

Paris could poach tech companies from London

A rival to London

During the conference announcing Facebook's initiative, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo celebrated the city as "a center of global innovation."

Paris is already home to over three dozen startup incubators, a challenge to the idea that France is "unfriendly" to business. Facebook's presence could attract other entrepreneurs to the campus' facilities and set up Paris to rival London as an urban hub for startups, especially should tech companies opt to relocate to the European continent in light of Brexit.

cmb/se (EFE, AFP)

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