“Digital should no longer be a brake, but an opportunity.”

12 January 2023
Digital inclusion


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Meet Marianne Beaufils – in charge of “digital inclusion” projects and investment – and Nicolas Turcat – head of the Education, Public Services and Digital Inclusion Department – at Banque des Territoires. Through their eyes, discover the raison d’être of 13M, the first gas pedal dedicated to digital inclusion by Banque des Territoires, Groupe SOS, H7 and Pulse.

Hello Marianne, hello Nicolas. Before talking about 13M, can you tell us about the mission of the Banque des Territoires?

Marianne Beaufils : Banque des Territoires is a division of Caisse des Dépôts. Our mission is tooperate, finance and support local authorities and players in the field, to make territories more inclusive, more sustainable, more connected and more attractive .

Nicolas Turcat: The Banque des Territoires is aimed at projects, and in particular at elected representatives, grassroots players and entrepreneurs who make the general interest a reality. We create synergies between all these people, and lead concrete projects with an extremely strong ecosystem logic. We have various levers of action:

We operate on behalf of the State or in partnership with them: we provide them with resources to develop and support a State policy and deploy actions.

We make equity investments in companies to speed them up, increase their capacity for action and grow our value proposition for territories.

→ Finally, we support and finance projects and structures that are focal points, such as MedNum or H7.

What is your definition of a territory?

M.B : The notion isn’t really defined. A territory transcends the administrative boundaries of local authorities. This represents a catchment area in which projects are evolving.

N.T: Territory is about belonging and heart: it’s the environment in which we can project ourselves at different times in our lives. Often, when a person is attached to a territory, he or she will seek to develop it.

M.B : And when this person develops a project in a given area, he or she does so with the players in that area, those around him or her – as close as possible to his or her needs, such as associations.

What is digital inclusion?

M.B: Digital inclusion means making digital an opportunity, not a hindrance. For Banque des Territoires, digital inclusion isn’t just about public services. It’s a cross-cutting issue, and a real driver for the adoption of solutions found in other industries – banking, healthcare, culture and education, for example.

N.T: Digital technology opens up new horizons, broadening our way of thinking and showing us new ways of understanding the world around us.

What is 13M’s value proposition in one sentence?

N.T: 13M’s value proposition is to accelerate digital inclusion in all its dimensions. We provide both upstream and downstream solutions. Projects supported by 13M could focus on website accessibility, password management, simplifying the user experience, learning, etc. 13M should enable innovative solutions to go to scale.

Why did you launch this initiative?

N.T: Digital mediation solutions are not optimal, and existing tools such as training schemes (e.g. CPF) are under-utilized in terms of digital support.

M.B: Many initiatives have already been put in place, but we need new ideas and more sustainable models to drastically reduce the digital divide. Solutions need to reach more beneficiaries and win them over.

What solutions do you think inclusion needs most? For what purpose?

N.T: The issues we have identified today are as follows:

→ Equipment.

→ Digital mediation.

→ Training for government employees.

What do you expect from the 13M candidates?

M.B: They have to be motivated and ready to commit themselves fully to the project.

N.T: We expect them to be up and running quickly, so that we can concentrate on their go-to market (structuring and organizing a product or service). Project leaders need to be able to question the existing situation and find solutions. You have to accept challenges, take feedback and integrate it. We want to meet and support optimistic people who want to make a difference!

Can you give us 3 good reasons to apply?

M.B: The first reason is the network. During the 9 months of support, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to create and develop their address book. They will be meeting a wide range of players in the field of digital inclusion, including entrepreneurs, investors, elected representatives and a large number of experts.

N.T: The second is to develop and evolve. If a start-up or association applies to join a program like 13M, it’s because it has a mission that transcends itself. The gas pedal enables you to ask yourself the right questions and develop your business to achieve the objectives identified upstream. M.B: Finally, the third reason is the desire to change things and scale up. You have to be ambitious in your commitment, motivated by the desire to help more people.

Selena Miniscalco


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