CISAM: one of the 25 places of Innovation in France | CISAM
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CISAM: one of the 25 places of Innovation in France

CISAM: one of the 25 places of Innovation in France

We’ve been keeping this under wraps all summer, but it is our top news story for this fall 2022: CISAM is one of the 25 places that are changing innovation in France.
This study, conducted by the Banque des Territoires (CDC group), France urbaine, the Patriarche group and the consultant JLM Conseil, lists the places that embody, stimulate, and host innovation in France.



Innovation at the heart of today’s major issues


Innovation is no longer confined to its strictest definition; it is found all around us, in a variety of forms, with a definite capacity to unite a multitude of players. This ecosystem, which came into being about ten years ago, is now at the heart of the contemporary issues and major topics. It is growing in shape and involving more and more players: manufacturers, SMEs, large groups, universities, researchers, students, financiers, institutions, associations and all the local players in all their diversity.

The objective of this approach is therefore to ascertain this plurality of actors by listing the role, organisation, services, operating models, real estate and territorial anchoring methods of these places that are changing innovation in France. These are places that are as different as they are surprising, and which consider the need for collective action, exchange and transversality as the basis for innovation. It is clear that real estate also has a role to play. All of the 25 selected projects have set up their headquarters in “emblematic” locations where architecture is important. These new or redeveloped buildings are totem places housing creativity, and they stand as symbols, which is a real marketing asset.


CISAM ranks among the top 25 places of innovation


Among the 300 locations identified, 25 were selected for their ability to provide the resources necessary for entrepreneurial creativity, including three players with a strong presence in the Aix-Marseille area. These include Le Cloître, innovation and social entrepreneurship cluster located in a former convent in the Saint-Jérôme district, and La Coque, innovation and digital events center, located in the Joliette district.

The City of innovation and knowledge Aix-Marseille (CISAM) also stands out in this ranking. Defined as a unique space for entrepreneurial creativity, encounters and enrichment in the Aix-Marseille area, the CISAM was created in 2018 at the initiative of Eric Berton, president of Aix-Marseille University. It is the fruit of the intelligence and ambitions shared by the largest French-speaking university in France, the largest metropolis in France, the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis, and two French multinationals: CMA CGM and the L’OCCITANE Group. With the same desire to develop scientific culture and innovation to serve economic growth, these partners have joined forces around a unique concept: to bring together on the same site all the resources needed to stimulate innovative approaches and make them more fluid. CISAM is a place for meetings, creation, project incubation and acceleration, and is a space for all those who innovate in the Aix-Marseille area.


The strength of the territorial collective


Local players also play a major role in the reputation of these new spaces. Institutions, cities, regions, universities and private companies are all providing support and deploying resources to strengthen, accelerate and make these innovation spaces more visible. This is the case of the Aix-Marseille area, which combines public forces (Southern Region, Aix-Marseille Provence Metropolis, Bouches-du-Rhône department, Cities of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, etc.) and national and local industrialists to make this ecosystem live and grow.

The Aix-Marseille site can also count on the largest university in France, with more than 80,000 students, 3,300 doctoral students and 120 research facilities. 21 patents were filed in 2021, placing Aix-Marseille University in 4th position among the structures filing the most patents in the region.

The number of players identified in this guide from the Aix-Marseille area proves the dynamism of this region and the richness of the local ecosystem which is organised, collaborates, shares and exchanges with a view to creating value. More than 60 support structures and numerous facilities: fab labs, third places, coworking spaces, etc. are available to entrepreneurs. The region has around thirty scale-ups and the Aix-Marseille French Tech cluster is the second largest in France, after Paris, with no fewer than 800 start-ups.

The efficiency of this unique federation of players in the innovation ecosystem resulting from public research demonstrates, yet again, that the strength of the territorial collective is at the heart of all successes.


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