For this week's Meet the Member feature, we spoke with Daphné Lora, Senior Business Development Manager at PRIME.
PRIME (The US branch of Paris Region Economic Development Agency) accelerates the growth of American companies in the Paris Region by leveraging a team of experts, a strong network and a deep knowledge of the local market. It guides them through various steps of setting up their business and R&D activities in the Paris Region. With offices in San Francisco, New York and Boston, Prime is a Catalyst for Open Innovation fostering mutually beneficial connections between French and American Organizations.
FACC: What makes Paris Region an attractive place to start your business or expand abroad?
DL: Conveniently located at the heart of Europe, Paris Region is Europe's leading economic region with multiple key sectors such as Automotive and Transportation, IT, aeronautics, Energy & hospitality. With the highest GDP and highest concentration of Fortune 500 corporations in Europe, Paris Region offers access to a market of 510 million consumers and a large pool of talents.
Home to 5,000 startups, more than 200 incubators/accelerators and 1,200 R&D labs, Paris Region is also a leading European technology hub focusing on Deep Tech, Big Data, Drones, IoT and Cybersecurity among others.
The region is currently undergoing the largest urban development project in Europe with the construction of the Grand Paris Express metro (130 miles of new lines) that will complement already outstanding transport connections. It's also preparing for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games.
Finally, we should not forget the exceptional quality of life, Paris being the capital of culture, gastronomy and shopping.
FACC: What synergies have you notices between the business environments in the Greater Paris Region and NYC?
DL: Besides being both global cities of roughly the same population, the Greater Paris and NYC have a lot of similarities. Although Silicon Valley dominated the first wave of technology disruption, New York and Paris Region have become two of the most powerful epicenters of both cultural life and digital innovation, with the advantage of vastly greater diversity of businesses and multifaceted professionals than the American West Coast.
Both cities are global leader in the same following industries: Media & Advertising, Finance & Insurance, Real Estate, Tourism & Entertainment, Education, Retail & Fashion, Urban Transformation, and Healthcare. For NYC-based companies in these sectors, Paris Region is the perfect gateway to Europe.
Regarding disrupting technologies, both New York and Paris Region are focusing on AI, Blockchain and Virtual and Augmented Reality. It’s no coincidence if the French Tech and NYCEDC (New York City Economic Development Agency) signed a partnership earlier this year to fuel international expansions and investment in the tech and innovation sectors.
FACC: PRIME- Paris Region provides long-term guidance for businesses, what are the different aspects to this?
DL: We offer personalized support and tailored free services. Depending on the company's needs, we can:
FACC: What is the biggest misconception about France or the Paris Region, from a business standpoint?
DL: In the past, France was not identified as a place of innovation, but things have changed in the last 4 years thanks to a convergence of factors:
FACC: What piece of advice would you give to companies considering expanding in Paris Region?
DL: Don’t do it alone!
It’s hard to navigate cultural differences, foreign legislation and business regulations. You can waste a lot of time trying to find out the correct information or the good partner. At PRIME, we are here to help you launch smoothly your business in Paris Region. We’ve recently launched “Accelerate your Business in Paris Region”, a customized soft-landing program for North American Companies.
I would also advise planning a trip to Paris Region to understand the market and get a first-hand idea of the opportunities for your business. This is where we can also support you by setting up your first business meetings.