Mercato: a program to facilitate the transfer of skills between major corporations and deeptech startups

Bpifrance and France Industrie have introduced "Mercato," an innovative program designed to facilitate the transfer of skills between major corporations and deeptech startups.


Accessible through the platform, this initiative is part of the strategic partnership forged between Bpifrance and France Industrie to strengthen collaboration between deeptech startups and industrial players.

Gaining additional expertise by leaning on Corporate’s recognized professionals

This strategic move addresses the unique needs of the deeptech sector. « Mercato » allows founding teams of scientifically oriented deeptech startups to tap into additional expertise, particularly in industrialization and business development, for varying durations ranging from a few days to several months, with a maximum engagement of two years. The program facilitates the occasional placement of recognized professionals in diverse areas such as financing, human resources, regulations, and industrial processes. Grounded in the labor loan law, this initiative allows employees from large corporations (>5000 employees) to be seconded for periods ranging from weeks to months, ensuring their return to their original positions at the end of the secondment. In cases of collaboration between large corporations and startups/SMEs, both parties can mutually agree on the distribution of salary responsibilities.

This initiative aligns with the ambitious goals of Bpifrance’s Deeptech Plan. By fostering connections between experienced professionals and emerging players, « Mercato » plays a crucial role in Bpifrance’s plan, aiming to create 500 deeptech startups and 50 industrial sites annually by 2030. In 2022, 17 factories have already been established by deeptech companies, marking progress towards this goal, especially considering that 44% of France’s 1,900 industrial startups are classified as deeptech. Ultimately, « Mercato » aspires to benefit at least 50% of deeptech startups in the pre-industrialization stage.

A win win situation

This initiative brings advantages for both deeptech startups and major corporations. For deeptech startups, « Mercato » provides the opportunity to access key skills at a reduced cost, or even with complete coverage for short placements. For major corporations, the program represents a chance to enrich the professional paths of their employees, assert their employer brand, and actively engage in the French innovation ecosystem.

The operational mechanism of « Mercato » involves interested startups posting their competency needs on the dedicated « Mercato » page on the platform. These offers are then reviewed by the HR and Talent Management departments of major corporations, who propose missions to eligible employees. Additionally, employees from major corporations can independently review the offers and approach their HR departments to explore the possibility of participating in a skills transfer.