Planète A, Crédit du Nord’s incubator, ready to receive impact start-ups in early 2022


There isno plan B because there is no planet B”declared in 2014 Ban Ki-moon, then Secretary to the United Nations. It is with this idea of saving the world, or at least keeping it in the best possible state, that Crédit du Nord has launched “Planet A”, an incubator for so-called “impact” start-ups. This new incubator will host them at the Lille Rihour branch as well as at the Nantes Saint-Herblain branch, and registration is open until 19 November.

Planète A is intended to be more of a support than an accelerator. Its purpose is to support the ecosystem of these start-ups, to accompany them in their development by offering them a place to exchange ideas, to work, to meet with mentors as well as a specific website. Crédit du Nord hopes to set up Planète A in other regional branches in the near future.

Start-ups with impact

By June 2021, Bpifrance Le Hub and France Digitale had identified 727 impact start-ups. For Bpifrance, these are “companies that have several social and environmental objectives”. More than 17,800 people work in them and they have managed to raise 4.4 billion euros. Investors are increasingly attracted to companies that combine environmental, social and financial performance, according to a report by GP Bullhound, a London-based investment bank.

Guillaume Bonneton, Partner at GP Bullhound said:

“We can see how important impact and ESG investments have become for investment funds that are increasingly willing to anticipate sustainability risks and opportunities.”

An impact start-up must meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals 2015 – 2020 (SDGs) adopted at the UN General Assembly in September 2015 and which came into force on 1 January 2016. There are three categories of goals (environmental, social, economic & development) in which the following criteria must be met:

  • develop a business model specifically designed to meet a social, societal and/or environmental challenge
    social, societal and/or environmental issues,
  • systematically have the notion of impact as one of its main business drivers,
  • implement concrete actions.

Launch of “Planet A” at Crédit du Nord

With its 776 regional branches, Crédit du Nord has set itself the goal of helping entrepreneurship. Planète A is oriented around “Tech for Good” projects or the positive societal impact at the heart of tech. Strategic areas can be addressed (education, health, security, personal data protection, etc.) that will benefit the entire population.

Jean Dumont, regional director of Crédit du Nord recalls:

“Crédit du Nord’s ambition is to be the benchmark bank for entrepreneurs in our regions. What could be more exciting than participating in the development of the region where Crédit du Nord was born and to which it remains particularly attached? With PLANÈTE A, we are creating a place where
an ecosystem of startups meets mentors to cross-fertilize their expertise and approaches, in response to their entrepreneurial problems”.

“Planet A concretely.

Dedicated to impact startups, the support offered by Planète A is based on three main pillars:

  • a meeting place where start-ups can work, exchange and share within an active ecosystem,
  • Internal and external mentors who will accompany project leaders throughout their development stages,
  • a website with a “resource centre”, containing a large number of articles, videos, and internal and external training courses, in order to provide the best possible support to entrepreneurs in their research.

Charles Barreau, mentor, stated:

“Engineer, creative and manager of 3 companies for 10 years, I am convinced that the environment and inclusion must be the foundation of our economic development in a vision of environmental and societal betterment so that young generations can flourish. The profitability of an activity must not only be economic, but must be social and ecological.”

Applications have been open since 25 October until 19 November. The selection will be made in two stages. First, the relevance of the potential impact will be judged at the regional or local level. Then, the selected entrepreneurs will defend their project before a jury.

For Benoit Vandermarcq, Chairman of the Management Board of Banque Tarneaud:

“Our role as bankers is to support the projects of those who undertake in the heart of our region, to help them grow: we share the same vision of the world with these entrepreneurs and we want to help their ideas grow. And that’s what we’re doing, in short, since the beginning, and once again today with
this incubator.”

For Virginie Lacroix, Head of Innovation for Crédit du Nord Group:

“We remain at the side of those who undertake to move the lines and through this initiative we wish to accompany the transition of our country. We have always made innovation a tool to serve our social commitments, to help our entrepreneurial customers develop their projects, but also to help our employees. Innovation remains at the heart of our strategy.”

Translated from Planète A, incubateur du Crédit du Nord, prêt à recevoir les start-ups à impact début 2022