Brexit and start-ups: Provence Promotion remains committed to its London activities

Brexit and start-ups: Provence Promotion remains committed to its London activities
02 November 2017 / Big Data/Data Centers, doing business in provence, E-Commerce/E-Tourism, Internet of Things, Media, Smart Cities, Software/Digital Services & Consulting

Meeting with talents at the Discovery Start-up’s Day

In the wake of post-Brexit reactions, start-ups continue to show considerable interest in France. This was apparent to Provence Promotion, which just participated in the Discovery Start-up's Day in London on October 23, 2017. This annual competition organized by Cambridge Wireless, a community dedicated to all things wireless, gives 10 finalists the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a jury of world-renowned leaders, investors and businesses involved in technological innovation. Provence Promotion took part as an exhibitor and jury member, positioning the Provence region as a hosting ground for these growing start-ups. Here are some highlights of the talent discovery event. A start-up today, a young mid-sized business tomorrow?

For the third consecutive year, Provence Promotion participated in Discovery Start-up's Day in London. Its involvement is part of a specific post-Brexit action plan and an overall prospecting strategy to attract talent to Provence. Since 2016, the economic development agency has been taking advantage of the opportunities created by Brexit by forging strong ties with French Square, a community of 600 French-speaking business leaders. The Discovery London contest held on October 23, 2017, was a forum for promoting the region's appeal and the Start in Provence support program to foreign start-ups specializing in innovation and digital technology.

Today, young entrepreneurs are considering a range of European destinations for their R&D work and France is one of their target countries.  The "French Tech Visa" issued by the French government is a simplified procedure for foreign investors and business creators and a major competitive advantage in attracting talent. It is yet another mechanism for reinforcing the virtuous circle of new technologies in France, whose success is tangible in the record growth in capital raising seen in the first half of 2017 (1.7 billion Euro according to the firm CB Insights).

Provence for start-uppers

Provence is among the most attractive regions in France for digital businesses. The area is rife with professional networks and dedicated resources (incubators, accelerators, business labs, co-working spaces, etc.). Its hatchlings take flight and are regularly recognized at international fairs (Ween, 3DRudder, Traxens, AlertGasoil and so on).

The region is also an important international crossroads and a bastion of connectivity. Beacause Marseille is the largest area for datacenters in France after Paris and the leading European hub with 13 submarine cables, companies enjoy access to competitive, highly effective Internet and telecom networks. Exceptional access to international markets. To help start-uppers get to know this conducive ecosystem and became a part of it, Provence Promotion operates the Start in Provence support program.

Furthermore, operating costs (rent, salaries, etc.) here are far lower than in other regions of France (co-working spaces for less than €200 per month and furnished apartments with Mediterranean views for less than €650 per month). The natural setting is full of charm with its sunny climate, hills and rocky inlets, helping to ensure a healthy work-life balance.

Discovery Start-up's Day: in search of talent

Enthusiasm, motivation and ambition were the common traits of the new talents Provence Promotion met during the eight annual Discovery Start-up's Day. Conversations in its exhibitor space proved that these young business leaders not only have solid skills in their industries, but a broad vision and growth outlook encompassing the countries of Europe.

The contest also raised the profile of mature start-ups in search of growth opportunities. Of the nine companies that pitched in the prestigious offices of Deloitte London, the event's lead sponsor and jury member, three were honored: Tangi0, which is developing a flexible connected material to replace keyboards; Codeplay Software, which specializes in artificial intelligence; and Zifisense, which works in electronics and the Internet of Things.

As this event demonstrates, Provence Promotion intends to remain plugged into innovation ecosystems. In an increasingly globalized and high-tech world, young entrepreneurs immediately set their sights on international markets, including Europe. The goal is to understand their needs to better position Provence. In 2016, the economic development agency assisted over 20 digital companies in setting up their businesses in Provence, including 12 start-ups which took part in the Start in Provence support program.