In Cayenne, an innovative business incubator is home to young companies

The innovative business incubator in Cayenne is the first structure in French Guiana to welcome young businesses that are less than two years old. More than 20 entrepreneurs have already benefited from its services. They are provided with furnished offices, as well as the necessary infrastructure. They can also make use of personalised support and host services to increase their project's sustainability. The incubator employs three people. Inaugurated in June 2015, the facility was built on the Pôle Universitaire Guyanais - PUG (University of French Guiana Campus).

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Situated on the University of French Guiana campus in Cayenne, the innovative business incubator is home to young businesses. © Creative Commons Situated on the University of French Guiana campus in Cayenne, the innovative business incubator is home to young businesses. © Creative Commons

" We have already reached 90% occupancy. Our aim is to help businesses within the incubator succeed in the long term. We hope that when they leave us they are sufficiently well established to succeed. This means providing not only daily assistance, but also long-term support. "

Quentin Poilvé, manager of the incubator within Guyane Développement Innovation (French Guiana Development Innovation

Now a radiant and convivial 1300 m2 structure built on the University of French Guiana Campus, the innovative business incubator provides a home for businesses in their first five years. Businesses must be either less than two years old or have been set up within three months of entering the incubator.

Only two and a half years after its inauguration, the incubator had already reached 90% occupancy and was home to 17 young businesses at the start of 2018. These businesses cover a wide range of sectors, from consulting to digital technology, to drone technology, to sustainable development work.

Innovation is understood in the territorial, and not just the technological sense. In this respect, anything that is new to French Guiana can be considered innovative. This notion can be applied not only to products, services and processes, but also to social, marketing, commercial and even organisational domains. Since it opened, the incubator has hosted over 20 businesses, each employing between one and four people. The idea is that, once very small businesses are financially mature and strong enough to fend for themselves, they will leave the premises. “In 2018, some of the first businesses to set up here will be leaving,” explains Quentin Poilvé, manager of the incubator within Guyane Développement Innovation (French Guiana Development Innovation).

To encourage their departure, rental prices are incremental. They are very affordable to begin with and gradually increase each year the company spends at the incubator. Initially, it costs EUR 15 a month per m2 to rent a furnished office, all charges included. The building offers 16 private furnished spaces, each 13.5 to 25.5 m2, three workshops and three labs with adjacent offices and storage spaces, a reception area, a documentation area, a cafeteria and three meeting rooms.

In addition to its infrastructure, the incubator offers entrepreneurs customised support in the form of networking, follow-up interviews, and help preparing dossiers or training programmes, etc.

Since September 2016, it has been home to Numlab, the first digital lab in French Guiana. Much like a ‘FabLab’, it is an open, collaborative and free-of-charge space aimed at democratising access to digital technology in French Guiana. This laboratory dedicated to digital innovation has also received European funding (2014-2020 programming period).

The incubator has created 2.5 full-time jobs (one manager, one secretary for the businesses, and a multi-skilled IT technician), as well as, of course, all the jobs generated by the businesses hosted within the incubator.

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Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the 'Creation of an innovative business incubator’ project is EUR 4 237 891. The European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 2 400 000 under the French Guiana Operational Programme for the French Guiana Region for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date

12/11/2019