Meet the Member: Laura Casanova - International Prospecting Officer

Member news | September 02, 2021

We are delighted to welcome Laura to the FACC network! A Corsican native, Laura recently joined the Economic Development Agency of Corsica (ADEC) as their new International Prospecting Officer in North America. 

ADEC is a regional public organization in charge of the implementation of the regional economic policy defined by the Territorial Collectivity of Corsica. Keep reading to learn about Laura's plans to boost Corsica's economic development in North America... 

FACC: It's the first time that ADEC has sent someone to Canada to help support economic development in North America for Corsica. This is a very large goal, especially in terms of the U.S. market where competition is imperative. Can you share with us your key objectives and strategy for your mission?

It is indeed! The main goal of my mission abroad for the Economic Development Agency of Corsica is to be the link between our companies or institutions in Corsica and the Northern American market. As you said, it’s a large goal and most of the time our companies don’t even know where to start. Well, I want to be the start of their next project in the U.S or Canadian market. Our objectives are to develop partnerships and economic relationships with the key actors of the economic sector in the US and, we also want to appear in the economic radars of the big companies or institutions. We want to put Corsica on an international level.

Our recovery plan is mainly focused on three key sectors: Digital, Green Economy and Maritime Economy, so we are going to work a lot in those 3 sectors.

FACC: Corsica has outstanding assets in its climate, scenery, and magnificent coastline, all of which promote tourism. In your opinion, what is Corsica’s #1 selling point?

I would say that we are a full package! Yes, we have beautiful beaches and scenery, and it’s nice to live there thanks to the climate but what I think is different than anywhere else in the world is also the mentality of our people, the atmosphere there. So, when you visit our island, you don’t just visit places, you feel the island, you live an experience. With our products and gastronomy, landscapes, and the folklore of our people! And of course, we love to brag about it, but we have it all: the beach, the sea, the mountains, the forests, lakes, cities. You can do a lot of things. And Corsica is nice to visit all year long. Even if the main season is summer, Corsica is amazingly beautiful all year long!

From a business perspective, Corsica's main asset is its potential for the challenges of the future represented by an energy transition (energies that do not generate greenhouse gases) and ecological (blue and green economy and green). We are an island so of course, we have a lot of natural resources that are essential for producing cleaner energy.

FACC: What are things about Corsica that most people (even French people) may not know?

From a historical perspective, most people ignore that your Constitution is inspired by the Corsican, written by Pasquale Paoli in 1755. Based on the principles of the separation of powers and universal suffrage, the Corsican constitution inspired the American constitution drafted a few years later. To this end, nearly ten American cities still bear the name of Paoli or Corsica.

Concerning modern business, I must mention the name of François Coty a famous businessman from Ajaccio who was the first to develop the fragrance as we know it now. He had a revolutionary idea: rather than creating a perfume exclusively composed of natural scents, intended for the elites of society, as the profession did at the time, he decided to combine these natural scents with organic synthetic products. His goal was to sell the perfume much cheaper and make it a consumer product. 20 years later, François Coty became a multi-billionaire, becoming one of the richest men in the world. The company he started Coty, Inc is still working now and based in NYC! Coty owns approximately 77 brands including Alexander McQueen, Kylie Cosmetics, Stella McCartney and Hugo Boss.

FACC: Since arriving to Canada, have you heard any presuppositions about Corsica? If you care to share what are they?

To be honest, I’m pretty impressed that people, especially in Québec, know us so well and even visited Corsica! They know many things about our music, our culture and even about Corsican politics! I didn’t hear any presuppositions, but the only thing is that sometimes people think we are Italians because of where we are (in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, near Sardinia).

FACC: To our readers that might be interested in planning a trip to Corsica. What are your recommendations for where to stay, eat, and visit?

I was born in Ajaccio, so naturally, I would say that it is the most beautiful place in Corsica (where Napoleon Bonaparte was born too!) But to be honest, every region, village or city has its own wonders, it really depends on what you like to do, if you’re more into relaxing at the beach, hiking, and outdoor activities or gastronomy. Even though, you can do it all!

The charm of The Cap Corse, the colored villages and the vineyards of Balagne and Nebbiu, the shore of Porto Vecchio and the white cliffs of Bonifacio… so many things to see!

To the readers interested in visiting Corsica I would say: don’t be afraid to rent a car and to venture on roads that will lead you to magical little towns, sometimes not popular spots. Stop at the village squares, have a coffee, talk to Corsican, they are famous for their hospitality. Taste local products at the markets (cooked meats, honey, Corsican wines and beers) don’t miss our museums, visit our University in Corte, our citadels and attend a polyphonic concert in a church. Immerse yourself in the Corsica way of life.

But of course, if you have any specific questions about what to do, please feel free to reach me in the Member Portal.

FACC: What do you hope to gain from your FACC-NY Membership?

I really hope it will help me and the Economic Development Agency of Corsica to build up our network in the US. That it will help us to connect our companies with the other members so it can be beneficial for everyone. Corsica has a lot to offer, and we have a lot to learn from you!