Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Accélérateur M and Connect Innov pool support for start-ups

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, December 16th 2021 à 15:30 | Read 242 times

Wafa B'chir, Franck Araujo and Hichem Radoine will combine their skills to better support start-ups on both sides of the Mediterranean (photo: F.Dubessy)
Wafa B'chir, Franck Araujo and Hichem Radoine will combine their skills to better support start-ups on both sides of the Mediterranean (photo: F.Dubessy)
FRANCE / TUNISIA. On Tuesday 14 December 2021, the Marseilles-based Accélérateur M and the Tunisian Connect Innov unveiled their intention to join forces during a debate organised by Emerging Valley and hosted by The two start-up support structures intend to pool their offers on both sides of the Mediterranean.

Accélérateur M was launched in January 2019 by the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis. Founded fifteen months ago in Tunis and Marseille by Wafa B'chir and Hichem Radoine, Connect Innov specialises in HealthTech (technologies in the health sector).

"We are working to raise awareness, detect and promote African, and initially Tunisian, high-tech innovation. We position ourselves as a support structure and not as an incubator or accelerator," says Hichem Radoine. "Connect Innov covers a good part of the support chain for start-ups, because we consider that healthtech is already a very specific field requiring specific skills and support, particularly scientific. So we are creating our own start-up pipeline by raising awareness and encouraging students or researchers, who do not necessarily have the idea of entrepreneurship, to launch their own ideas by integrating them into a pre-incubation programme," continues the co-founder of the Tunisian structure.

Positioning in both Tunis and Marseille

Little by little, Connect Innov began to structure an incubator, with the support of Expertise France (Agence Française de Développement group), as projects were emerging around the high-tech theme. "A pre-accelerator now provides support for start-ups that are a little more advanced, whose products are already ready and who are keen to attack the local and, mainly, international market. Hence our positioning in both Tunis and Marseille," emphasises Hichem Radoine. "This philosophy of the two shores we started from the beginning because we believe in a connection between Africa and Europe", explains Wafa B'chir. "For each programme, we open an internationalisation phase, the "Immersives days". The start-ups come to Marseille for five days to meet the ecosystem to discuss and establish partnerships," she explains.

Connect Innov also arrived at Emerging Valley with a dozen Tunisian start-ups in its luggage. As a prelude to the event, their managers came to pitch at the Accelerator M. "We were surprised by the quality of the projects, but also the range of activities," comments Franck Araujo, its director.


​A partnership signed in early 2022

The partnership between the two structures should materialise in early 2022. "But we're going to start right now," says Wafa B'chir. In February of this year, Connect Innov will bring the first start-ups from their pre-accelerator to Marseille to attend the Sommet des Deux Rives. 

"We are just a few steps away from signing a document that will seal our partnership. But the most interesting thing is not the paper but what we are going to do with this partnership and how we are going to make it work. It's the business flows, the number of Tunisian companies or companies from other African countries that they have detected or accompanied that will come to set up in our country. We will also be able to go to the other side," insists Franck Araujo. "Connect Innov also plans to organise visits to the Tunisian ecosystem for SMEs in the Marseille region in 2022," confides Wafa B'chir.

"One way or another, the internationalisation of our start-ups will be carried out from the Aix-Marseille region in partnership with the Accélérateur M. Either we will integrate the accelerator directly, or we will co-create programmes around the dedicated high-tech part", announces Hichem Radoine. "They will be the logical continuation of everything we are currently doing in Tunisia and what we will reproduce with Africa from the second quarter of 2022. So an African flow will complement the Tunisian flow", he announced. 

"We share common interests in creating much more collaborative ecosystems between the two continents," adds Franck Araujo. "We are interested in the bridges they want to build between ecosystems, not only between the southern and northern shores but also with other countries in Africa. With them and thanks to them, we want to be able to exchange with other ecosystems in Africa to detect innovation, entrepreneurship, in fact the value that remains to be created there and here," he enthuses.


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