A delegation led by representatives of Nantes Saint-Nazaire Développement came to London last week, in particular to meet expatriates asking themselves the question of “returning to France”.
The mission of Nantes Saint-Nazaire Development is essentially to promote the territory on the national level, but also on the international level. To attract companies, investors and skills to make the metropolis ever more attractive. For three days, its representatives multiplied the meetings in the British capital, with a high point: a large meeting organized at the Bar Club Gasconto meet a good fifty Londoners, French, eager to learn a little more about the sixth city of France.
They weren’t the only ones in this very cozy establishment located north of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Business leaders and ambassadors from Nantes (see below) also made the trip to show their attachment to the city, its dynamism and all the opportunities offered by the area. These ambassadors, baptized “bold or audacious”, now number 500. They are mainly listed in Nantes, but also in London, Seattle, Montreal and Hamburg, the most targeted cities internationally.
” We supported 80 companies last year in their implementation and 50% of the projects arrived thanks to prescribers explained the representatives of the territory. A way to demonstrate the interest of developing the network of ambassadors.
Nantes Saint-Nazaire High Mass in London
Bérénice Ouzilleau, Nadia Chibouti and Elsa Venisse took turns “at the helm” to present the attractiveness of Nantes Saint-Nazaire to a very concentrated audience. Several aspects were mentioned, such as the recent establishment of companies in several sectors of activity and the maritime ambition of an entire region which intends to meet the challenges of blue growth by structuring the sectors (naval industry, boating, fishing, tourism, renewable marine energies) and supporting research and innovation. The opportunity to also mention the installation of a first offshore wind turbine a few days earlier. The figurehead of the future Saint-Nazaire wind farm, which will eventually have 80 units, erected some 12 km from the coast.
It was also mentioned that a delegation from Nantes will be returning to London next September on the occasion of the grand salon ” Future food tech », with the idea of creating new partnerships and finding new opportunities.
Like Paris, Nantes will soon have its steel monument
Major urban planning projects were mentioned, such as the city’s desire to acquire a rare and distinctive architectural element. Paris has its Eiffel Tower, London its Tower Bridge. Nantes should soon hold its “ heron tree “. A monument 35 meters high and 1,500 tons of steel crowned with hanging gardens, intended in particular to show the city’s ability to innovate. This somewhat crazy project for some will take the form of the “largest urban tree in the world”. It will be located within the extraordinary garden on the banks of the Loire, in an old quarry that has been completely brought back to life.
The four musketeers of Nantes Saint-Nazaire
Four Nantes ambassadors had all the time needed at the end of the meeting to bring their vision of the territory and continue to tell their experiences during a great networking.
Benoit Sanson, co-founder of thearchitectural firm 31/44 present in London and Nantes for two years, confirmed all the merits of his choice. As stated in our first article, he does not regret anything, quite the contrary. He now has a vast playground to develop many new projects.
Thibaut Jarrousse, co-founder and president of D-vine was able to testify to the dynamism of Nantes St-Nazaire where he finds all the human and technological resources to develop his product. It provides an innovative solution for hotels and restaurants with a machine that delivers fine wines by the glass. A hundred references in total, served at the right temperature and decanted in seconds. “We already equip 1,100 hotels and restaurants, from starred to family brasseries. Today we begin our development in England. Establishing ourselves in Nantes is a real choice, already because it is less divisive than Burgundy or Bordeaux. It is also a region quite conducive to industrial development and recruitment.
With three children, we rejected Paris quite quickly, because the quality of life here has nothing to compare. The capital is very easy to reach by TGV and sometimes we even organize our meetings on the train, so as not to waste time. Our territory has been able, for several years, to work on its marketing and show its dynamism as a large metropolis. As a result, it is quite easy to hire experienced executives. They don’t come here thinking they’re going to bury themselves in the provinces. They know that the region is very buoyant, with a vast business ecosystem in which they can always bounce back”.
Xavier Bruand, company director MBP-Digital also wanted to share his Nantes experience. His company publishes a CRM solution for real estate developers. It now works with approximately 10% of market players established in France, which represents 6,000 users. Nantes is the city where he grew up before leaving for London to improve his English after his computer science studies.
First porter in a five-star hotel, he then landed a job more in line with his knowledge in a start-up. After five years in the kingdom of His Majesty where he met his wife, the choice of a return to France became clearer. “I posted my CV one evening at 10:30 p.m., the next day at noon I had around ten job offers, he explains. I was therefore able to choose my company and did not stop improving my skills.
I live at the gates of Nantes, with a garden in which I organize my meetings. We enjoy a real quality of life here. Every week I go for a mountain bike ride in the vineyard or in the forest. Nantes is a super pleasant city, on a human scale and with really nice people”.
Rock Feliho, in charge of the development and marketing of the HBC Nantes is the ambassador of his club and quite naturally of the territory. “We play the leading roles in France, but also on the European scene, so we promote the image of the city everywhere, he explains. The values of the club stick very well to those of the city: respect, solidarity, fighting spirit. And with our CSR actions – like handball for all – we are helping to develop a very beautiful spirit within the community”. After 20 years of sport at the highest level, including eleven in the Nantes workforce, the former captain of HBCN simply did not see himself living elsewhere and is delighted with the impact of his club and the growing emergence of his sport.
“England is an emerging handball country, so we want to contribute to its development across the Channel. This is partly what motivated my trip here this weekend. By the happiest of coincidences, Théo Bougouin, the president of the London Handball Club, is from Nantes. Our influence beyond our borders also involves cooperation with other countries such as Benin and Senegal. We don’t just have the desire to seek nuggets and bring out talents, we intend to contribute to the personal development of young people who are going to play handball by instilling in them good values and giving them the keys to succeed in the life “.
Like the other “daring” present, Rock Feliho particularly appreciated the sincere statements of the “Nantes ambassadors” who are Benoît, Xavier and Thibaut. But also the involvement of the Nantes St-Nazaire Development team. ” With Nadia, Bérénice, Elsa and Paul, I know that project leaders wishing to discover Nantes are in very good hands. The delegation was not there just to do its job, but to convey a real passion. With all of us, Nantes scored points in London, that’s for sure! »