PR firm Publicis Groupe to back 90 startups to mark birthday

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French multinational advertising and public relations company Publicis Groupe has announced Publicis90, an initiative through which the firm will celebrate its 90th birthday by backing 90 global startups with funding of between EUR10,000 (US$11,000) and EUR500,000 (US$545,000).

Launched in 1926, Publicis Groupe plans to celebrate what it calls “90 years of innovation” by providing 90 projects or startups from across the world with the support and funding they need to get off the ground.

Projects can be submitted via the Publicis90 platform, with the competition open to students, new startups, successful entrepreneurs or Publicis Groupe employees anywhere in the world. Applications are open until February 28.

The company said the goal is to provide entrepreneurs with the support they need to bring their projects to life, or to take it to the next level, with projects to be pre-selected by region. The first round of votes is open to all Publicis Groupe employees, while a regional jury will then draw up a shortlist from the pre-selected projects. The final selection will be made by a global jury.

Selected projects will be mentored by Publicis Groupe experts in marketing, communications, management and technology, and receive funding in the form of an investment ranging from EUR10,000 for projects about to be launched to EUR500,000 for startups already ramping up.

The 90 selected projects will be invited to participate at startup event Viva Technology Paris,which will take place from June 30 to July 2 at the Paris Expo Exhibition Centre. Here, the 90 projects will be honoured at an awards ceremony.

“Publicis90 is very much in line with the philosophy of Publicis Groupe and its founder, Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet. The idea is to help young entrepreneurs achieve their goals. Not just through investment but also by putting Groupe resources at their disposal for a year. Rather than look back and pat ourselves on the back for 90 years of history, we have taken the forward-looking approach of extending a helping hand to young entrepreneurs,” said Maurice Lévy, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO of Publicis Groupe.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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