Narwhal Challenge: International Call for Projects

Catherine Ryall - 19/09/19


The NARWHAL CHALLENGE is the first call for international projects in the Finistère area (Western Brittany) in France. This call for innovative projects has been launched by a collective of 8 organisations representing the area’s key economic and scientific stakeholders as well as its world-renowned research community.

Sustainably developing the local maritime economy


The NARWHAL CHALLENGE seeks to attract project leaders and maritime start-ups from all over the world. The aim is to promote innovative initiatives and to foster the growth of projects with the support of the region’s established stakeholders. The wealth of local networks and the collective momentum that characterise the area make it a region ripe for business development.

When and who?

Candidates have until 4th October 2019 to apply online at with their proposal for solutions or services across the following fields:

  • Defence, safety and maritime security

  • Naval industry and sailing

  • Maritime energy and mining resources

  • Marine biological resources

  • Environment and coastal development

  • Maritime ports, logistics and transportation

  • Tourism

Networking, visibility and ecosystem discovery


The NARWHAL CHALLENGE winners will benefit from a full week of customised immersion in the region. Their programmes will be planned based on their activity and on the necessary expertise required to develop their projects.

The week will consist of various workshops to:

  • Meet the region’s networks of potential clients, partners and investors
  • Share experiences and best practice as well as knowledge and skills in target fields
  • Discover Brittany’s maritime economy and quality of life

It doesn’t end here!

The next phase of the project will be launched over the course of 2020 and will allow project leaders and start-ups convinced of the region’s potential (scientific resources, testing platforms, first local opportunities and more) to benefit from an acceleration programme lasting several months.

Dates for the diary


The Finistère in numbers

Its maritime economy

  • 40,400 maritime sector jobs
  • Top European port for seaweed offloading
  • 98 acres dedicated to renewable marine energy

Its scientific community

  • A high-level university centre: 1600 students, 730 researchers, the University of Bretagne Occidentale is 12th globally in the the field of oceanography (Shanghai index).

Its allure

  • 1391 kilometers of coastline – France’s top maritime area
  • 19,000 international residents in the Finistère
  • Home to internationally renowned institutions



Setting up your business in Brittany, and especially in the Finistère, is a guarantee of having the advice and help your project requires.’ Franck Zal co-founder of Hemarina(A biotechnology firm that has developed a technique of universal oxygen transportation from sea worms)

The exceptional abundance of expertises and scientists here affords the Finistère a unique status in France and in the world. Yann Guichoux - President of Eodyn (An innovative company specialised in the space sector and in maritime traffic)


The project’s partners

The Village by CA Finistère, innovative project accelerator and member of France’s top start-up support network, and the Campus mondial de la mer created the concept for this call for projects.

Located in Brest, Brittany’s second largest metropolitan area, the Village by CA Finistère supports innovation of all kinds. It seeks to bring together local actors: potential collaborators, start-ups, SMEs, major companies, students, researchers and more. Together, they innovate and create new business opportunities based around 4 domains of excellence: the sea, cybersecurity, health/ageing, and agriculture/agribusiness. The Village by CA Finistère is a catalyst for the region’s innovation and transformation: a place for accelerating innovative projects, stimulating creativity, showcasing existing projects and developing new business opportunities.   

The Campus mondial de la mer is a project focused on developing a sustainable maritime economy (blue growth). This effort, spearheaded by the Brest Metropolitan Area, has been jointly developed by federative structures of the marine technology and science communities in Western Brittany: Europôle Mer, Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique and Technopôle Brest-Iroise. It brings together specialist universities, businesses, national research institutes and regional and local authorities.

Its main ambition is to make Brittany THE foremost region for research and promotion of oceans and seas. Through coordinated action promoting research, collaboration between laboratories & businesses, and supporting the development & internationalisation of SMEs, the “Campus mondial de la mer” seeks to conquer high-potential markets.



Contact: Marlène Le Pennec - Communications Manager / - +33 6 45 74 56 71
Julien Gras - Communications Manager / - +33 2 98 05 63 14 – +33 7 60 40 83 05
Follow us: Facebook: @LeVillageByCAFinistere                                Twitter: @VillageCABrest                                                   LinkedIn: Le Village by CA Finistère
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The Industry and Cleantech Department assists French companies with their international development strategy and promotes trade between France and the UK. In order to maximise commercial opportunities between French and British companies, the Department organises French Pavilions at a number of key exhibitions in the UK, as well as offering other networking opportunities and individual partnering services. We cover a range of sectors including the aerospace, defence, nuclear/energy, environmental, automotive, naval, construction, and sub-contracting industries. Industry and Cleantech Department Michael Yates Manager, Industry and Cleantech Department Tel: +44 (0)20 8132 4604 Maëlig Le Nair-Doaré Trade Development Adviser Tel: +44 (0)20 8132 4602 Aerospace, Security, Maritime Thomas Eck Trade Development Adviser Tel: +44 


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