The City of innovation and knowledge Aix-Marseille (CISAM) a totemic building at the crossroads of worlds
The City of innovation and knowledge Aix-Marseille (CISAM) was officially inaugurated on Wednesday 13 March by Yvon Berland, president of the university, Martine Vassal, president of the Metropolis, Reinold Geiger, CEO of L’Occitane, and Tanya Saadé, managing director of the CMA CGM.
By Richard Michel – Published on 14 March 2019 at 06:23
Video : https://youtu.be/tOLo9jhE1QA
At the Castel, opposite J1, start-ups have been gradually moving in since last September within the various incubators, Obratori, Zebox and the latest one, M Accelerator. Even the teams from Aix-Marseille University took possession of the premises last January. However, the “CISAM” – an emblematic place of public-private innovation in Marseille –, had not yet been officially inaugurated.
The ceremony finally took place on Wednesday 13 March in the presence of academics, elected officials and the heads of the project’s partner companies. Several hundred people responded to the invitation to this place which is intended to be the symbol of the city’s new economic dynamics:
“This City of innovation embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of Aix-Marseille University. It is a place of incubation, acceleration, research, and information for all citizens,” declared Yvon Berland, president of Aix-Marseille University (AMU).
At the crossroads of academic and industrial innovation
In practical terms, the university has brought together all of the key players in the field of research development. This initiative was the brainchild of AMU in 2012. Originally, it was to occupy the 3,000 square metres available, but it preferred to join forces with the Metropolis, which had opened its own incubator, the CMA CGM and L’Occitane: “The virtuous triangle of companies, local authorities and academia is at work here,” says Yvon Berland with satisfaction. However, convincing an international player like L’Occitane was not easy. The president of AMU remembers his meeting a few years ago with CEO Reinold Geiger, who “was not entirely convinced. At one point it almost fell apart,” admits Yvon Berland, “but in the end we managed to reach an agreement.” Today, the cosmetics behemoth has a turnover of more than 1.3 billion euros and could have chosen to settle in the United States, in Silicon Valley, or in Switzerland “But we have our origins here in Provence. This installation in Marseille brings us closer to our laboratory in Manosque,” explains Reinold Geiger. It also brings him closer to Marseille research community: “When you don’t live here, you don’t realise the quality of the work carried out in this university. Now we’re discovering its excellence and we’re going to use it,” says the head of L’Occitane. With Obratori, he has just welcomed his fifth resident start-up…
Zebox aims to house thirty residents by the end of the year
One floor below, Zebox, the CMA CGM accelerator, has already installed 14 companies. On Friday 15 February, it will hold a new selection committee to choose five more. The shipowner is thinking big: “We want to double this figure to thirty by the end of the year,” says Tanya Saadé, CMA CGM’s deputy managing director. “We’ll certainly have to push the walls up to keep up with this rate of growth,” replies Mathieu Somekh, the director of Zebox. The group is already said to have its eye on the offices being built in the neighbouring building.
Video speeches: https://www.facebook.com/GoMetMedia/videos/373606700142151/?t=5
Lien vers l’article complet