Paris — Facebook launched its first-ever start-up support programme in Paris on Tuesday, in a huge tech incubator funded by a French telecoms billionaire. The social media giant said it wanted to facilitate the emergence of "independent start-ups that contribute to the data economy of France and Europe". Speaking at the site of the future 34,000m² Station F campus, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg praised Paris as "a city of new ideas." "Entrepreneurs are the engine of economic growth here in France and around the world," she said. Starting in April, when Station F opens in a former railway depot in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, Facebook will mentor five start-ups in the areas of e-health, digital identity verification, carpooling and personal information management.