Focus on Western France, a region known for its attractive digital ecosystem
The Pays de la Loire region profits from a privileged position on the French territory. Connected to Europe by train, with 20 daily trips to Paris and back, and a connection with Belgium in 3 hours. A 660- kilometer highway network links the North to the South – London, Brussels, Spain and Portugal, and the first Western France international airport. Stretching from several sites in Nantes to Saint-Nazaire, the Major Sea Port is the 4th French port and the 1st along Atlantic coast. Opened to the world, the Pays de la Loire region is esteemed for its strong savoir-faire and its life quality called the “French West Coast”. For examples, the “Vendée Globe” and “the 24 Hours of Le Mans” are brands made in the Pays de la Loire region known beyond our borders.
Western France is a historic place for industry leaders. In our strategic sectors, famous international firms have chosen to develop their business here. Throughout industrial and economical mutations, it has stood out, and has become every time a leader in its excellence areas (shipbuilding, aircraft construction, etc.)
Industry is at the heart of the regional economic dynamism, with the first employment rate (not counting Paris region): 66% of the 15-64 years old population. Moreover, the region is ranked second of the French regions for the share of industry in total employment and factory creation (between 2012 and 2015).
Besides, the Pays de la Loire region has always been and is more than ever an agile, innovation-oriented region. The high-levelled teachings provided have favored our young population to adapt very early to new technologies. Indeed, the inhabitants of Western France is mostly young, with 3.7 million inhabitants, 26% of which are below 20 years old.
Our region, historically known for its thick industrial network, has embraced digital technology very early. Indeed, Western France is the birthplace of French electronic, for almost forty years. It hosts electronic leaders as Packard-Bell, NEC, Thomson, ACT, etc. Pays de la Loire region is also the only French region where every territory is “French Tech” labelled. Its industrial and startup companies have chosen digital as a priority and are now the symbol of its economic attractiveness. In the meantime, digitalization is one of the success levers of the region’s investor-privileged-sectors: Health & Therapies of tomorrow, Shipbuilding and Pleasure Boat industry, Advanced manufacturing technologies, Marine Renewable Energy (MRE), Professional electronics & digital technology, Agri-food industry, Creative and Cultural Industries. Moreover, it is the 3rd French territory in numbers of digital-related jobs, and has been specializing in this sector with many excellent domains: virtual and augmented reality, connected objects, retail, e-tourism and information systems. , its privileged geographic position and its economic dynamism make it an exceptional territory where tomorrow’s investments are developing.
- 9 competitiveness hubs and 11 clusters illustrate the Pays de la Loire’s specific networking culture. Moreover, the 5 “French Tech” labels of Angers, Laval, Le Mans, la Vendée and Nantes confirm this commitment and this opening to the digital technologies world. For example, Angers French Tech aims to cultivate the right conditions for the emergence and development of start-ups, while strengthening ties with manufacturers and the electronics sector, and this movement is maintained by entrepreneurs in the local area. Its four strategic priorities are to build the best possible ecosystem for IoT, detect and marshal talent, conduct experiments and testing, attract people and build a reputation.
- Digital is present everywhere thanks to the large investments of the Pays de la Loire region. It is shown by the use of new digital tools but also by the managerial Cultural Revolution led by new technologies. The French West Coast is a territory where digital transformation has already been launched and started to prove itself. It is the case in small structures: start-up companies are inventing new products, but also in bigger companies, in which management practices have been transformed, relations becoming more transversal, etc.
Angers’ digital ecosystem
In Pays de la Loire and more precisely in Angers, the industrial electronics sector accounts for around 25,000 jobs, with 3,900 students pursuing their initial training and over 250 research scientists. The Angers region’s digital/electronics sector today represents 900 firms and almost 7 000 jobs –figures trending upwards. The sector comprises an array of technologies (e.g. electronics, IT, networks, telecommunications, multimedia, virtual reality, augmented reality) and many sectors and professions: ICT producers and distributors and ICT service providers, to name but a few.
Connected objects are changing city life. The public authorities in Angers and the surrounding area have been adapting to accommodate them for several years now. Their aims are clear: to make life easier for service users and to analyze information in real time to meet local people’s needs more promptly. They also aim to save money by optimizing the management of services. Over the next few years, this revolution to make our cities smart is set to accelerate. In Angers, there are already plenty of new technologies which contribute to make daily easier.
The Pays de la Loire region is definitely very attractive for start-up companies to settle, between professional opportunities and quality of life. Gary Shapiro’s* successive visits in 2015 and 2016 at Angers’ IoT City prove it. Back in October, he said to be “impressed by the regional passion for new technologies and innovation”.
*President of the Consumer Technology Association
For further information, take a quick look here: http://www.invest-western-france.com/