South of France: The Place to Be for Foreign Companies

provence promotion foreign

provence promotion foreign

Provence Promotion convinced 31 foreign companies to invest in south of France (Bouches-du-Rhône).

Out of the 67 foreign companies which set up in the southern Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in 2017, 47 chose Bouches-du-Rhône. A fantastic gateway to business in Provence, Provence Promotion supported 31 of them. “Out of 68 projects being supported by the agency, 56% are international,” noted Jean-Luc Chauvin, President of the metropolitan development agency at the end of the general meeting June 26. A good year is also forecast for 2018, with 75 new arrivals expected.

Provence – a great place to live and work! The EY attractiveness survey published this month reveals that Aix-Marseille rose three points in the opinion of foreign investors compared with the previous year. “Aix-Marseille ranks third among French cities for foreign companies, ahead of Toulouse,” says Provence Promotion.

Its popularity in the business world is reflected in statistics, with a 13% increase in new arrivals in 2017. Provence Promotion convinced 31 foreign companies and 37 French companies to invest in Bouches-du-Rhône. This upward trend is set to continue in 2018. At the end of the first six months of the year, all the indicators look positive for achieving the annual objective of 75 completed projects.

“High demand and significant interest in the region”

“We are noting high demand and significant interest in the region,” says Jean-Luc Chauvin, who chairs both the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Marseille-Provence and Provence Promotion. “In the first six months of the year, the number of assignments increased by 43% and we supported 18% more prospects. We are visiting three companies a week,” adds Philippe Stéfanini, managing director of Provence Promotion.

The agency has stepped up its activities with new development focuses. On the west coast, a partnership with Business France successfully identified potential investments in Provence. Once example was Bovlabs – already active in the United States, India and Switzerland – which is developing a decentralised “peer to peer” energy market platform, allowing self-producers and consumers to exchange energy. The platform is built on blockchain technology. Bovlabs, based at thecamp, has been selected to join the climb acceleration program, reserved for just 12 startups. It is working on the Aixploration project at the Aix TGV station. “My company benefited from support from the Provence Promotion representative in San Francisco to find the best environment for establishing our new operations in France,” comments Jaikrishnan Pilai. The founder-President of Bovlabs is working with STMicroelectronics in Rousset.

Another Transatlantic partnership has recently been concluded between the Californian startup Shone and French armaments manufacturer CMA CGM to facilitate the work of crews on container ships.

Provence Promotion reinvents support with thecamp and the Cité de l’Innovation

Provence Promotion is boosting the region’s appeal with accelerators and major projects such as thecamp and the Cité de l’Innovation in Aix-Marseille.

In collaboration with thecamp, Provence Promotion has developed a new investor support model. The agency is offering some of its innovative prospects, whether startups or members of large groups, the chance to benefit from support from thecamp to study the feasibility of their innovation. Olivier Mathiot, President of thecamp, says “This new way of working is already providing impressive results. Two of the 12 startups accelerated by the first round of thecamp came from this collaboration.” The startup Netwookie was created by two Cambridge students, wishing to relocate their company to concentrate on their target market of Africa. Major names in e-mobility, from China and Germany for example, are examining joint support from Provence Promotion and thecamp.