New Board, New Ambitions for Investors' Favorite Agency

New Board, New Ambitions for Investors' Favorite Agency
13 July 2017 / invest in provence

The Conseil Départemental's economic portfolio has been transferred to the Metropolitan Authority

In the twentieth year since the founding of Provence Promotion, the agency's board has announced new ambitions in the way it works to attract businesses to Provence. The creation of the Aix-Marseille Provence Metropolitan Authority has served to reinforce the team approach that the founding member the Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIMP) holds so dear. The economic development agency's vocation as a single entry point and main contact organization for companies wishing to set up in Provence has been reinforced by the support received from local government agencies across the board.

"With the NOTRe act, the Conseil Départemental's economic portfolio has been transferred to the Metropolitan Authority. As a result, Provence Promotion is supported by the CCIMP and the Aix-Marseille Provence Metropolitan Authority in equal measures", explains Solange Biaggi, vice-president of the Conseil Départemental des Bouches-du-Rhône in charge of local planning and the economic development agency's outgoing president.

After eighteen months at the head of Provence Promotion, the councilor recently handed over to Jean-Luc Chauvin, president of the CCIMP, thus maintaining the principal of alternating presidencies.

"We have a common vision for the region and we need to find answers that bring the business demand and the local offer closer together"

Among other newcomers to the Board and to the Bureau are three metropolitan councilors who will be able to take advantage of a new strategy committee set up to reinforce coherence between attractiveness targets and the agency's offer.

"We have a common vision for the region and we need to find answers that bring the business demand and the local offer closer together", adds Béatrice Aliphat, metropolitan councilor in charge of industry and energy networks and vice-president of Provence Promotion.

Public and Private-Sector Stakeholders Determined to Convince

"The agency, which covers the Bouches-du-Rhône, including the Pays d’Arles, needs to go further. In September, we propose to revamp of the agency's three areas of competence: promotion, market research and location. We need to provide support to businesses right up to the project's delivery: housing, schools, jobs for spouses…" explains Jean-Luc Chauvin.

The new Provence Promotion president also intends bringing industry stakeholders on board when businesses are considering Provence. "When we host a prospective client, the industry majors need to provide testimonials to back up our argument. When the president of the Quechen Group is received at CMA-CG, it reinforces our credibility. We must stop thinking small; our region has enormous potential", insists Chauvin.

In 2016, Provence Promotion attracted and supported 60 business location projects, creating 1240 new jobs and ensuring the continuity of 104 others. The share of foreign investment has literally skyrocketed over the past few years to a point where it is now at 50%!

In 2016, the Chicago-based Underwriter Laboratories Group decided to invest in La Ciotat. With a background in electrical certification, the company has over the years developed tests for smart cards and mobile phones, the new trend in payment methods that include Apple Pay among others. "The smart card was invented in Provence by Gemalto. We came to France because the country has a recognized know-how and mathematic skills. Our role is to anticipate any attacks on payment methods. This year, we will be hiring around fifty engineers and with Provence Promotion's assistance we have better access to talent", explains Bruno Mussard, UL's senior security project manager.

The ecosystem centered on new technologies (French Tech) was the key attraction for the founders of Fin-Track, a listing and rating platform for B2B financing solutions. Romain Amido, Fin-Track's CEO recalls, "We were hesitating between London and Barcelona, but meeting the Provence Promotion team at the MWC was instrumental in our decision. I discovered a really dynamic group of people. We work in a very specialized sector and the people I talked to quickly understood my project and organized visits of the ecosystem". After successful stints in fintech companies in London and Catalonia, Romain Amido and his partner Adrien Tichoux hung their nameplate on the doors of Marseille's Belle de Mai Media Park in February, 2017.