FACCC Mission France 2019: Paris & Nice-Sophia Antipolis

In June 2019, the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACCC) took Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP)’s Director Ryan Combs and his assistant James Xu on a one week exploratory mission to France. Ryan has been eager to establish stronger links with French regions and clusters, and the Paris airshow was the prefect pretext to travel to France to bring attention to the Triangle Region. The trip included visits in Paris, Lyon and Nice.

North Carolina and France already have a strong bi-lateral relationship  French companies are the 3rd largest international employer in the United States and 5th in North Carolina. North Carolina companies export $1.5 billion annually to France and the nonstop access from RDU to Paris on Delta Airlines is very attractive to French companies.  Thanks to this existing relationship in addition to the growth of La Frenchtech, life sciences, and cleantech clusters, we found numerous opportunities to pursue.

FACCC’s Marie-Claire Ribeill, Malika Verdier and Thomas Prieur helped create a very full agenda of meetings and conferences. Thomas and Marie-Claire accompanied the mission:



• RTRP attended, as EDPNC’s guest, the Paris Air Show where FACCC assisted with introductions to multiple French companies looking to do business in the U.S and we were invited at the FACCC member Dassault Systems’ tent.

• We visited Paris & Co, incubator Le Cargo. Paris & Co is an economic development agency which has been involved with the incubation of more than 400 companies a year. We met with Jonathan Sinivassane who offered the opportunity to come back in October and do a presentation on the Triangle region for companies at Le Cargo.

• We co-hosted a reception at the prestigious Georges V hotel in Paris, with Chris Chung of EDPNC (The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina) and the Deputy Secretary of Commerce Liz Crabill. The reception included Stephen Alley, senior economic commercial officer for Western and Southern Europe at the US Embassy, representatives from France’s largest Biotech Cluster, Genopôle, Dassault Systèmes, Airbus, Cellectis, Nexans and numerous other small French companies looking for opportunities in the U.S. As a result of the reception, Genopôle will be visiting the Triangle region in November and plans to bring at least two companies with them.



A lot of opportunities exist in the Côte D’Azur region of France. Like Lyon the Côte-D’Azur region offers many similarities with the Triangle region.

There are one million residents in the Côte D’Azur and five million in the region that includes Nice and


• The Côte D’Azur is the second biggest life science hub with 263 life science companies, 30 research labs and over 100 research units.

• Nice is also the home to Sophia Antipolis, the first science park in Europe with over 2300 companies, 4500 researchers, 5500 students, and 38,000 employees. The Côte D’Azur also has a high concentration of cleantech companies.

RTRP visit in Nice was hosted by Cyril Dary of Team Côte D’Azur, the regional group similar to RTRP. Cyril visited the triangle region several years ago and is still optimistic about building opportunities between our regions.

The visit was full of quality meetings that could lead to significant opportunities:

• Meeting with Nice Éco-Vallée, a joint venture between government and the private sector, developed as a new sustainable community that will house new technology companies: a great opportunity for our cleantech companies.

• Meeting with CréÀCannes, an accelerator and co-working space for start-ups. A part of Cannes University, this group is concentrating on: Agritech, Digital Communication and the Silver Economy. The staff ofCréÀCannes is very interested in visiting our region and finding partnership opportunities in AgTech.

• Meeting with François Clergeot at Sophia Antipolis. François gave an overview of the park and extended an invitation to return and meet with companies in the park. He also would like to explore some type of official partnership opportunity with the Triangle region.

• Visit to SKEMA Business School with their director Philippe Chereau. SKEMA is a French international business school with a location on NC State’s Centennial Campus. SKEMA can be extremely helpful with marketing the triangle in France and Philippe offered to help with future meetings specifically with SKEMA graduates who have companies in France.


"As the Executive Director of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, I know the importance that strategic partnerships play in economic development. The RTRP’s primary mission is market the Research Triangle Region in external markets, and a priority for us has been to build strong links to France. The FACC has been a perfect partner organization for us and they were instrumental in the overwhelming success of our recent visit to France in June.  The FACC began meeting with us in January to craft a meaningful itinerary that would maximize the effectiveness of our trip.  The meetings that were organized for us and the doors that were opened not only in Paris but also in Lyon and Nice were extremely valuable, and will continue to provide value to our organization for years to come. I am grateful to the FACC for their tireless efforts to provide value to their members.” Ryan Comb

 Please read Ryan Comb’s newsletter for RTRP’s report on their mission to France >>

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