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Interview with Didier GUILLOT by Le Journal du Grand Paris



Didier Guillot, the Councillor for the 18th district of Paris reflects on the merger of Paris région lab and Paris développement which, on 1st January 2015, resulted in the creation of Paris&Co, the agency of which he is the President.
Paris&Co combines incubation, innovation and attractiveness within a single entity which may at some point be expanded nationally.

What are your thoughts on the creation of Paris&Co?

Didier Guillot, President of Paris&Co.

After the election of Anne Hidalgo, Jean-Louis Missika assumed responsibility for a more extensive portfolio and was keen to have access to a unified system.  The merger was also a development that was in line with the current move towards combining structures, just as had happened at the regional level with Paris région entreprises and at the State level with Business France.

What are the plans for the new structure?

The new term has seen the implementation of ambitious targets such as the creation of an additional 100,000 sq m of incubators – and not only by Paris&Co – and a plan to ensure that 30% of start-ups are foreign.  It is this second point in particular that represents the true spirit of the merger.  The international Paris développement team will be the main lever used to achieve this target.  On 20th May we will be organising a major launch event in the presence of Emmanuel Macron [Minister of the Economy].

What were the practical results of the merger?

The merger of the two teams went ahead very smoothly.  Together the structures created in the region of 8,300 jobs in 2014, almost 5,000 by incubated companies and 3,300 by companies who chose to set up in Paris.  We also crossed a threshold last year in regard to the attractiveness component, with 104 companies setting up operations, 77 of which were international companies.

What major projects will the new structure be implementing?

First of all there are the new incubators, the Tremplin sur le sport and Paris nord is in the Mac Donald warehouse which will be devoted to new media, although Paris&Co retains responsibility for the administration.  There is also the hotel plan, under which 22,000 rooms must be created in the same perimeter as the Arc de l’innovation.  The attractiveness branch is responsible for encouraging foreign groups to locate to the region.  They have already succeeded in attracting Generator, a UK group that has created a new concept in youth hostels, and the young French hotel chain Okko, which has four projects planned for Paris.

Apart from the 30% of foreign start-ups incubated, will the merger lead to any joint projects?

The first joint operations between the two teams were for "Réinventer Paris" which will facilitate international meetings between companies and start-ups with the aim of constituting new teams.  We were central to the success of this meeting which led to 865 dossiers being submitted.  A number of incomplete dossiers were eliminated, leaving 650 dossiers which are competing for 23 projects.  The final selection will be very difficult.  We were taken by surprise by the level of international interest, with all major global architects participating.  The selection process will be completed by the end of the year but the initiative will undoubtedly result in some very interesting projects.  After this we will work with the inner suburbs to relaunch this initiative for Greater Paris.

Are you also preparing new services?

We have worked on a welcome landing pack to achieve the target of 30% of foreign companies incubated in Paris.  It is a complete package comprising both accommodation and housing for employees, for example with Generator.  The support provided by Paris développement already guaranteed that everything would be done to help companies set up their operations, by not only carrying out the normal administrative formalities, but also enrolling the children of employees with local schools.


Source: Le Journal du Grand Paris