In the commitment that we can observe on the field of digital and industrial sovereignty, I would like to emphasize today the vitality and innovations that come from our regions. Indeed, we focus a lot (too much?) of our attention on the world of start-ups and innovative SMEs in the Paris region, but if we get out of this magnifying glass effect, we can only observe that there is a creative and innovative force in our regions.
Here I will give some examples, and I apologize in advance to all the innovative and phenomenal entrepreneurs that I will not mention in this article. But I hope they will be well represented in the examples I will give.
These are necessary, if not sufficient, tools for the emergence of great nuggets in the regions. It must be recognized that there is a significant concentration in the Paris region. But the major regional cities have not been forgotten. We have quality incubators in Lille, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.
In Lille, for example, we have the Euratechnologies incubator, which is one of the largest incubators in France and offers 80,000m² to support start-ups in the digital economy. In Lyon, we have Boost in Lyon, which is the first in the region and covers all sectors. Then we have Marseille with two incubators, Marseille Innovation, which focuses on digital, media, audiovisual and connected object companies, and UppyHub, which covers tourism activities. Then of course we have Toulouse, with the Nubbo incubator, which addresses fields such as biotech, chemistry, electronics, web software, etc…
These are only a few examples, there are many public initiatives, with the help of the CCI or private, leaning on business schools. These are the kind of places that allow the emergence of great initiatives, which from Start-Up, will become SMEs or unicorns…
The challenge that remains, however, is to consolidate their growth and to allow them to keep their sovereignty. It is unfortunate to see that our innovations very often end up being exploited by companies in the sector, but American…
Some good examples
You will forgive me for what you may consider a bias. However, our ecosystem is rich, there is a plethora of great initiatives, and I cannot be exhaustive, and we will discover start-ups or groups of international stature produced by our regions.
I’m going to focus on the field of hosting, and here I’ll talk about three companies active in data hosting that are of various sizes and are at different stages of development. First of all, there is OVH, born in the North of France, which is our national champion recognized internationally, and the recent setbacks of the Data Center in Strasbourg should not mar this great success.
Then, I would like to take a look at Clermont-Ferrand, where there is a sovereign host, o2switch, I wanted to talk about it because it is the host of my site and I am very satisfied. It is a modest actor, of course, all its data centers are located in Clermont-Ferrand, but this does not prevent the delivery of a quality service, especially for website hosting. We also need a reasonable size player, with a quality service.
To finish the hosting side, I have kept one last actor for you, which is Trésorio, it is a start-up from Mestoise, which offers an eco-responsible alternative for all the projects requiring computing power. I find the concept very interesting, recovering the heat generated by GPU servers to produce hot water. For me, this is an actor to follow and I hope that it will be possible to allow him to find his place in our ecosystem and to keep his independence.
A Marseille-based start-up, voisins-vigilants et solidaires (Neighbors-vigilant and united), has created a participative platform that allows you to alert your neighbors and notify the public forces in case of suspicious behavior in your immediate neighborhood. And I think that many of us have already seen these Neighbor-vigilant signs at the entrance of the city or neighborhood, an interesting service especially for rural areas, but not only.
There is a field that I have not yet had the opportunity to study, it is the “LegalTech”, and in this field the Lyon region offers us a start-up, that I discovered while preparing this article which is myformality, its added value is to offer a marketplace for all the legal and administrative services necessary to entrepreneurs.
To finish, I would like to introduce you to a start-up/TPE from Toulouse, Smartrezo. When we talk about social networks, we all think about gafam… And we are wrong! You are concerned about your personal data and the footprint you leave on social networks? I think Smartrezo is an interesting solution. But it does not stop there, its design is very territory and rurality oriented, and it has a rich content, but it is up to us to continue to enrich it… Moreover, in the service offer there is also a marketplace for everything that is short circuit, but not only. I find the initiative interesting, exciting and I wish its creators all the success they deserve!
We could only catch a glimpse of the richness of our start-up ecosystem in our regions, it is just as rich as what we can find in Ile-de-France and that’s good, it shows us that the creative and innovative capacity exists throughout the country. As we know, unfortunately, not all of them are destined to become major players like OVH, for example.
However, this sovereignty, which is so useful for safeguarding our jobs and the skills needed for our economy, is the responsibility of all of us. Whether we are decision-makers or consumers, it is our choices that impact our economic environment. The choice of the lowest social or quality standards, short termist, will not allow us to preserve and grow our economy.
Established national companies have their role to play. Indeed, the emphasis on CSR policy (Social and Environmental Responsibility), would make sense in the choice of French digital actor, with an impact on both aspects (Social and Environmental) of the CSR policy of the company…