Normandy may be a great region to live in, but it’s also a great place for innovation and business. Incubators, accelerators, business clusters, investors, networks: start-up founders have an entire ecosystem at their fingertips here to support their projects at every stage as they grow and flourish.

1/ We fuel bright ideas

Even a Eureka moment needs a little encouragement and time to flesh out. We take extra special care of them here with a regionwide network of incubators, whether they be general (Kpsul in Vernon, Ilo21 in  Saint-Lô, Le Générateur in  Granville, StarTech61 in  Alençon etc.) or specialist. Pépite Normandie supports students in their business ventures, KATAPULT focuses on socially innovative start-ups and Caen la mer by Les premières is all about female-led companies.

Normandie Incubation

Normandie Incubation, based in Caen and Rouen, is one of 19 public research incubators approved by the French Ministry for Research. Its Itinéraire Sterne pathway supports project managers as it approves their idea and wish to set up a business. The incubator itself provides twenty services to help them launch their own company. Since its foundation in 2000, Normandie Incubation has supported 357 projects, helped launch 237 businesses and create 2500 jobs. They include leading names such as Yousign, Genexpath and Sysnav. 

What sets Normandie Incubation apart is its ability to connect projects with research centres, provide all-encompassing support and its neutral position as a trusted third party.

Laurent Protin, Normandie Incubation director

2/ We boost start-up companies

Once the concept has been given the thumbs up and the business has launched, some projects need extra support to help them thrive. This tends to be the case for deep tech start-ups as it can be a long and complex process to get them to market. The NormanDeeptech accelerator (run by Normandie Incubation and Normandie Valorisation) provides these companies with help (6-24 months) to raise funds, move into the pre-manufacturing stage or expand internationally. The program attracts deep tech start-ups here from outside Normandy, primarily from Ile-de-France.

Crédit Agricole has also launched an accelerator in two of Normandy’s biggest cities. The Village by CA at the MOHO HQ in Caen supports fifteen start-ups specialising in agriculture, food and nutrition (health/healthy eating) every year. Budding entrepreneurs in need of a helping hand can also come to AD Normandie, whose Fast Forward Normandie program helps them expand their business and network. BPI France launched its own Accélérateur normand in 2022. It helps 24 local VSBs and SMEs (3 years in business with at least 10 employees) who want to expand.

Anne Soullez – Normandie Attractivité
UniLaSalle, l'école d'ingénieurs spécialisée dans les formations agricoles est partenaire de FFWD Agrifood

3/ We have a small and friendly network

Networks are essential in business, but even more so for start-ups as they need to build a network of partners and investors before they can even make a profit. Whilst it’s a real challenge connecting to a manufacturing group director or investment manager in huge cities such as Paris or Lyon, it’s very much achievable in towns and cities like Caen, Rouen or Le Havre.

Business networks here are always within reach. It's easy to establish and maintain relationships.

Houssem Assadi, Déjàmobile founder and French Tech Normandie president

French Tech approval

Proof of its exciting ecosystem, the approval of French Tech Caen and French Tech Rouen provides peace of mind for innovative project managers. Both communities provide their start-up founders or directors of tech scale-ups with a specialist network and specific resources. They launch national campaigns locally, such as French Tech Central which brings services and partners together in the same space, or French Tech Rise to help start-ups secure investment.

4/ We lead the way in research and further education

Some project managers need the expertise of research laboratories to help develop their products or services. Others want access to a breeding ground of trained and operational staff with advanced skills in science and technology. Being based in a place which needs no introduction when it comes to training and research is essential to any start-up.

With three well-known universities (Caen, Rouen, Le Havre) and a hundred academic research centres, Normandy is a land where start-ups can flourish. Normandie Valorisation, part of  Normandie Université, is here to transform the results of lab research into products or services that can be used with licensing… or new start-ups!

5/ We have investors waiting for you

Teddy Verneuil / Normandie Attractivité
Secteurs d'avenir en Normandie : l’industrie

When it comes to founding a business, it all rests on funding. YesweHack, Yousign, Robocath, Sinay and more recently Cleyrop, have grown from Normandy start-ups into mature businesses with the support of Normandie Participations. The regional investment fund was founded by the Region in 2016 and with 100 million euros, it is still one of the best endowed and most active in France.

Regional banks also have a part to play. Crédit Agricole Normandie and Crédit Agricole Normandie-Seine use CA’IN, venture capital with 8 million euros, to support the most exciting Normandy start-ups with equity holdings. La Caisse d’Epargne Normandie founded the Axe Cen corporate bank in 2023 to assist Tech Normande projects. Not to mention regional investment companies and networks such as Normandie Business Angels that also work with start-ups in Normandy.

6/ We have a place for you

Once you’re on track, a start-up needs premises to set up their teams and equipment. When it comes to commercial property, Normandy has everything covered from coworking spaces and business centres to business clusters. Some of them have made start-ups their speciality after their incubation period, such as Hub 4.0 and Hall 24 in Rouen, Plug’n’work in Colombelles. 


MoHo, a unique place in Normandy

MOHO in Caen is a 7500m2 HQ home to 70 companies (260 employees), 21 start-ups (75 people) plus students, sole traders, researchers and more. The innovative business park opened in 2021 and hosts schedules and events to encourage networking. We help start-ups connect with every part of the local ecosystem”, says Pierre Leschales, head of impact programmes at Moho. For example, this is where the Pimpant start-up met the Laboratoires Gilbert before it became a manufacturing partner and shareholder. And where the Samba Diaw, the Data Dunk founder, was supported by La Caisse d’Epargne Normandie (which also has its offices here).

7/ We have a united ecosystem

Everyone working here will agree: Normandy’s two main economic capitals, Caen and Rouen, have a completely different approach to innovation! And how they identify and support projects are just as different. That said, “the region puts on a real united front which makes it easier for start-ups to access all the services available in the area. It’s a real asset“, underlines Laurent Protin, Normandie Incubation director. What does that mean? Every member of the Normandy start-up ecosystem works well together.

We all have the same values and the same goal: support project leaders and help them succeed

Sophie Hochet, head of the Village by CA in Caen

8/ We have space for every start-up

Healthcare, digital, energy, automotive, agriculture and more. Compared to other regions, Normandy is a truly diverse place to do business. Just look at our business clusters – Pôle TES (electronics and digital), Hippolia (horse industry), Nextmove (automotive), Cosmetic Valley, Valorial – and major business associations – Normandie AeroEspace (aerospace), Logistique Seine Normandie, NWX – based in the region.

That doesn’t just give the region real economic resilience, but also an ability to empower and accommodate exciting start-ups in every industry. There’s space for every project in Normandy, with its diverse and active industries providing easy access to potential clients and partners”, says the French Tech Normandie president.

9/ We host special events

Start-up week-end in Caen and Saint-Lô, Normandie4Good, Agreen Start-Up, FÊNO, Codeurs en Seine and more. Events are the best way to network, push yourself and get people talking about your idea. And we’ve got lots of them in Normandy! French Tech Normandie always has something on for up-and-comers: Viking Days fundraising convention, ‘Pitch & Match’ meetings in regular industries and “Je choisis la French Tech” networking events.

Otherwise, the NWX digital cluster takes a group of Normandy start-ups to the VivaTech trade fair. The international event is the European equivalent of the CES in Las Vegas and hosts the cream of tech and innovation in Paris. Normandy is the only region not to have a business stand but instead a sample (18 in 2024) of start-ups that represent the region. A great way to promote yourself!

10/ We have quality of life like nowhere else

Valentin Pacaut The Explorers / CRT Normandie
Jetee__Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer calvados

Work isn’t the only thing in life! With the sea nearby, affordable cost of living, an exciting cultural scene and great sense of community, Normandy brings you the facilities you’d expect of major cities alongside the quality of life you want from friendly townsWhat more could you ask for?

Success stories

NEOLITIK, pioneering innovative and sustainable construction

The industrial start-up NEOLITIK won the design award at the Normandy Economy Awards and is revolutionising the world of construction. What sets it apart? An innovative alternative to concrete and stone called EcoLithe designed for eco-friendly building sites. From Paris to Fécamp Thirty-something Marc Dib left Île-de-France for Seine-Maritime in 2022. Why? To set up…

Jean-Louis Louvel, eco-friendly entrepreneurship

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