PARTNERSHIP - Focus on Reverse Innovation for the launch of THE NEXT SOCIETY Club at Station F!

Country: Euromed, Europe
Activity: Other or not specified






THE NEXT SOCIETY Club was officially launched in Paris, on 15 February 2018 by ANIMA Investment Network, its initiator, Bpifrance and GreenFlex who are among the first members.

The Club gathers companies and investors wishing to develop collaborations between innovation ecosystems in Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa. Club members affiliate themselves with THE NEXT SOCIETY, a movement aiming to reinforce innovation ecosystems, to develop value creation, as well as concrete solutions for a shared prosperity in the Mediterranean and in Africa. Driven by an open community of socio-economic actors (public agencies, companies, start-ups, NGOs...) in Europe and Mediterranean countries, THE NEXT SOCIETY started in 2017 with a pilot action plan co-financed by the European Union and aiming to mobilise, promote and reinforce innovation ecosystems in 7 Mediterranean countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon. By 2020, it is expected to support 300 start-ups, 190 incubators, accelerators and clusters, and 60 laboratories. Members of THE NEXT SOCIETY Club are collaborating within this movement to reinforce the action plan's impact and scope. For instance, they will be launching "challenge calls" for innovators connected to THE NEXT SOCIETY in targeted sectors and will collaborate with the laureates.


Large companies and investors join forces with THE NEXT SOCIETY to support cross-cutting innovation dynamics

THE NEXT SOCIETY a la Station FANIMA Investment Network, Bpifrance and GreenFlex partnered to launch THE NEXT SOCIETY Club in France in order to associate large corporations and investors to these cross-cutting innovation dynamics in Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa, by inviting them to take part in activities mainly targeted at Mediterranean start-ups, clusters and laboratories.

- Photo Antoine Garcia ©



The lauch of THE NEXT SOCIETY Club gathered 80 representatives of large companies, start-ups, institutions and investors at French Tech Central, Station F for a networking breakfast dedicated to "Reverse Innovation", which refers to the capacity of innovators from emerging countries to come up with solutions to contemporary challenges that can inspire the rest of the world. THE NEXT SOCIETY wishes to accelerate this reverse innovation movement by supporting South Mediterranean innovators who develop local solutions with a global reach or which allow to skip a generation in terms of use or technology.


Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot, co-founder and director of HEC's "Social Business" Chair, opened up the debate by showing how the success of technological innovations developed by subsidiaries of transnational corporations in emerging countries depends on a "corporate culture allowing to be as close as possible to consumer needs, and to the realities and constraints of the local situation". For transnational corporations, reverse innovation comes as an evidence, not only to enter emerging countries, but also to "keep their market shares in developed countries in spite of growing competition from the "emerging giants", decreasing purchasing power and the consumers' appetite for less sophisticated offers".


Several entrepreneurs then provided insights on how to approach Mediterranean markets. "To be the first one, to offer frugal solutions and to understand that business relations are all about human relationships" are the main success drivers for Kamel Haddar, Founder of CasbahTech Start-up studio in Algeria.


Mouhamad Rabah, who is the founder of Beirut Digital District (BDD), chose to come back to Lebanon to "bring continuity with the rest of the world": he invested in a symbolic place in Beirut ("bachoura", the great ditch which bears the marks of the war) to turn it into an innovative neighbourhood with multiple puroposes - Work, Live, Play - dedicated to the digital and creative community in Lebanon.


Saïd Sekkat, President of the Corporate Social Responsibility Commission of the General Confederation of Moroccan Companies (CGEM) insisted on the importance of responsibility in the Mediterranean context, which he illustrated thanks to Morocco's pioneer experience on the topic. 


These strategic orientations are fully supported by Mokhtar Zannad, founder and CEO of Aramis, a company exporting environmental waste management solutions to 14 African and European countries. This success relies on strong convictions: the African potential, with a "Mediterranean placed at the center of Europe and Africa", and the "necessity to innovate accordingly to our markets realities".


"THE NEXT SOCIETY is an innovative initiative for the development of concrete cooperation with Mediterranean innovation ecosystems. We are pleased to support this action encouraging the development of innovative companies on the Mediterranean rim, while strengthening cooperation with French companies and investors”, concluded Isabelle Bébéar, International and University Director at Bpifrance.


“At GreenFlex, throughout the years we have developed proven virtuous models combining digital with environmental performance. We are now convinced that the next stage of economic development will be more inclusive and sustainable, and will thus turn to ecosystems that are already evolving in this dynamic: Mediterranean entrepreneurs and actors”, added Frédéric Rodriguez, President of GreenFlex.


“Founding members of the Club will identify and accelerate innovation through the challenges initiated amongst creative and entrepreneurial communities, and support their market approach. Moreover, they will shed a new light on these countries, by valuing their contribution to the future of the planet”, summarised Emmanuel Noutary, General Delegate of ANIMA Investment Network, and initiator of THE NEXT SOCIETY.


Click here to see this event on Storify.
Click here to download the event's press release.
Click here to download the event's press kit.

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