Committed to moving forward

The novel coronavirus has weakened many business sectors. Nevertheless, several business owners who received relocation assistance from Provence Promotion in 2019 are determined to stick with their investments in the Aix-Marseille region. They remain focused on their projects. Some have even made encouraging advances. Following the interviews conducted, and among the positive feedback heard, here is a first series of testimonials from three companies that are firmly focused on the future.

They recently set up shop in the region with the help of Provence Promotion. They chose Provence to grow their businesses. How are these companies in full-on launch phase weathering the crisis? Were they able to move forward with their investments?

Some of them had positive answers, confirming to Provence Promotion their desire to move ahead and to bring their projects to fruition. We selected three such businesses, which represent pillars of the Provence economy: logistics, microelectronics and the ITER project.

Expansion of GSA Logistics to Miramas

GSA Logistics, the French specialist in tire logistics, just opened its sixth French site at Miramas in December 2019. The warehouse, where 75% of capacity was intended to store Goodyear-Dunlop products, was funded with a material investment of nearly 400,000 euros that its Senior Vice-President, Alain Elfassi, fully intends to amortize.

“As soon as the recovery begins, we will resume hiring as planned. We are also working on a new strategy to in-source our transportation services and win market share. We should be operational by July.” The team will ultimately consist of 15 employees.

Edge Technology beefs up its R&D resources

In the context of a booming Industry 4.0 sector, Edge Technology was founded in Gardanne by Thomas Guillet, a French entrepreneur recently returned from Singapore. The start-up, which Provence Promotion helped in autumn 2019 with setting up its R&D center at the École des Mines, heard good news in early April about the technological development of its smart sensors.

After receiving an interest-free loan from the Aix-Marseille-Provence seed funding program (AMPA), the company will now get a boost from the IMT (Institut Mines-Telecom) which is providing support through the digital fund of its “Initiative Grandes Écoles & Universités.

“Because of COVID, our technical progress has definitely slowed down, but we have expanded our borrowing capacity,” explained Thomas Guillet. “We were able to join the Aix-Marseille University Impulse incubator and are proud to have earned the BPI’s DeepTech designation. These signs of confidence were worked out remotely and will enable us to face the future with peace of mind thanks to the new support, development advice and funding. “

Vitrociset, a Leonardo Group company, is among the businesses spared

The French branch of Vitrociset, a company owned by the Italian engineering firm Leonardo, has not seen any drop in its business in the region. It moved to Saint-Paul-les-Durance to be closer to its client, ITER. The transition to teleworking was a somewhat easy shift for its team of 19 engineers.

“The health guidelines were implemented at ITER a few weeks before home confinement began and teleworking trials had been done, which made it easy for us to transition effectively to remote work,” observed Ersilia Ingratta, the manager of Vitrociset’s French site. “We are currently preparing bids for several RFPs as part of the project, which is moving forward with plans, and we also have two positions to fill.”

This encouraging news attests to the resilience of the Aix-Marseille region and its newest arrivals, even in this unprecedented time.

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