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France on course for success with digitisation in Bavaria
We are taking the second Franco-German Digital Conference in Berlin as an opportunity to consider the wide range of activities of French and German players in Bavaria, including start-ups, companies, educational facilities and institutions. Learn of the tremendous potential of Franco-Bavarian business relationships, especially with regard to Industry 4.0 and digitisation.
The second Franco-German Digital Conference took place in Berlin on 13th December 2016. This discussion forum aims to further expand collaboration between Europe's two economic heavyweights in the field of digitisation and to improve connections between their stakeholders. The participation of high-level economic and political representatives, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, President François Hollande, Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel and his French counterpart Michel Sapin, demonstrated that both Germany and France have made the digital transformation a high priority. Topics included the future of industry in the digital era and the role of start-ups in digitisation and innovation.
There are already initial concrete activities, such as the joint capital investment by the German and French development banks KfW and Bpifrance in a growth fund managed by Partech Ventures. This is intended to give European start-ups access to capital they need to become global market leaders.
Various initiatives, events and relocations to Bavaria are proof that federal states cannot be neglected, even amid the start-up hype surrounding the German capital. They are a sign of the great potential for Franco-German collaboration in economic affairs, education, and research and development:
French digital pioneers succeed in Bavaria
The majority of the French companies who have moved to Bavaria recently (since 2015) come from fields related to digitisation, such as IT services, IoT, big data and e-commerce. They include the successful start-ups Sigfox, Lengow, imakumo, Mirakl and Movework as well as the start-up accelerator Starburst and the IT security company Wallix. Décathlon also chose Munich as the first location in Germany for its new Connect store concept.
Investment in Franco-German specialist staff and managers
Training specialist staff who can advance the economies in Germany and France is a top priority for both Bavaria and France.
- To prepare graduates for the challenges of the digital economy, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Institut Mines Télécom (IMT) in Paris have combined their expertise and founded a Franco-German academy for Industry 4.0 in 2016. The two universities offer joint research projects in six topic areas and summer schools for students.
- In addition to numerous integrated Franco-German degree courses and exchange programmes at Bavarian universities, the Franco-German ICN Business School in Nuremberg focuses its training on the two strongest economies in Europe. The Bayerisch-Französische Hochschulzentrum (BFHZ) grants mobility support to students who complete a research internship or part of their studies in the partner country.
Numerous platforms for discussion, exchanging experiences and tapping markets
Once or twice a year, the French Foreign Trade Councils and the Deutsch-Französische Wirtschaftsclub in Bayern e.V. organise the Franco-Bavarian business dinner in Munich in cooperation with the French Consulate General. Current topics such as big data, social dialogue and company succession are addressed from French and German perspectives. The topic for discussion in 2017 is the sharing economy.
French companies use Bavarian trade fairs as promising sales platforms: Nearly 80 French companies exhibited their products, services and innovations at Electronica 2016 in Munich. Business France organized shared stands for French companies both there and at it-sa in Nuremberg, the only IT security trade fair in a German-speaking country, at which France was partner country in 2016.
Space to develop in Bavaria
In addition to numerous classic co-working spaces, business centres and business incubators that offer workspaces for young and dynamic companies throughout Bavaria, two providers are dedicated to Franco-German expansion projects in Munich. They are Villafrance and the Victanis Center.
Invest in Bavaria active in France
Invest in Bavaria, the Business Promotion Agency of the State of Bavaria, is also expanding its activities in France. In addition to the Salon Industrie Paris, this year we also attended the digital festival Futur en Seine, the Hello Tomorrow Summit (where we were proud to see the Bavarian start-up Lilium Jet win the Hello Tomorrow challenge!) and Oktoberfest in Paris, where we met important network partners and innovative French start-ups with expansion plans in mind.
This reflects only a small part of the Franco-Bavarian activities and initiatives. We are already raring to go in 2017 and look forward to further value-adding investments from France. Are you planning to expand into Germany and want to know more about why French companies choose Bavaria as their location in Germany? Are you curious about why French expats feel so at home in Bavaria? Get in touch!