The Board of Management of the PACA-Est incubator recently elected Patrick Valverde as its chairman. He takes over from Gérard Giraudon, who was not standing for re-election. Patrick Valverde has been a member of the Board for almost 10 years, representing TVT Innovation, and he is well versed in its workings. Having taken over the chairmanship of the incubator, Patrick Valverde intends to continue encouraging corporate set-ups in the “départements” of Alpes Maritimes and Var, thereby increasing the incubator’s impact in a local, regional and national landscape that is still seeking a structure. His position as President of RETIS (Réseau Français de l’Innovation dans les territoires) also gives him a national view, which will be of benefit to our ecosystems and their organisations.
Patrick Valverde, a graduate of the Ecole Nationale d’Ingénierie des Industries Agro-Alimentaires (ENTIAA) in Nantes, has been Managing Director of the Toulon Var Technologies Innovation association (“TVT Innovation”) for ten years. The association was set up in 1988 by local and regional authorities to encourage the setting up and development of innovative companies in Var and the PACA region.
As part of his work, he assists companies and university laboratories as well as providing consultancy services and expertise for local and regional agencies. Moreover, as an expert in “The Politics of Research and Innovation”, for example, he advises numerous institutional and other economic economic players in France and other countries.
He has been President of RETIS (French innovation network) since 2012. Over the past twenty years or more, the association has involved all its members in providing assistance for innovative projects in France, aiding of more than 13,000 companies to date.
Our thanks to Gérard Giraudon
Gérard Giraudon took over as President of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in June 2007. As Director of Inria Sophia Antipolis – Méditerranée since 2006, he worked as chairman of the business incubator in a voluntary capacity for six years. Under his leadership, the incubator not only increased its assistance to business projects in terms of quantity and quality; it also consolidated its position among the players in innovation on a regional level, signing agreements with stakeholders such as local and regional authorities, business clusters and, most recently, with SATT Sud-Est. Nationally, the incubator is now part of the RETIS network and, on a European and international level, it has established a partnership with EBN and led a number of specific actions, notably with the USA.
The annual number of start-up projects receiving assistance from the incubator has risen from sixteen in 2006 to over thirty in 2013. The number of project managers has increased from one to three and they all hold ISMA 360 certification, reflecting their knowledge of the strategic assistance method for innovation. Locally, the incubator has opened district offices in Sophia Antipolis, Nice and Toulon with a project manager present in each of these areas.
Action has been taken jointly with TVT Innovation and RETIS on several occasions to help start-ups gain an international dimension. This in turn has created links in Silicon Valley, Boston and Florida.
Gérard Giraudon has been a driving force within the PACA Innovation network, speaking at plenary meetings, and he has been instrumental in setting up an innovation chain in Alpes Maritimes through local meetings. The inspiration for this came partly from the local meeting held in Var and chaired by TVT Innovation.
The incubator was one of the first players to occupy premises in the Business Pôle complex in Sophia Antipolis but it was soon joined by many other stakeholders in innovation, in moves coordinated by CASA. It is also one of the players at the Métropole de Nice Côte d’Azur BIC and the Toulon BIC, TVT Innovation. The partnership with InnovaGrasse is functioning well and Cannes Town Council has recently joined the incubator.
With its founders, UNS and USTV, the incubator was the driving force behind the Creatude University Entrepreneurship Plan which is working to promote student-run businesses in Alpes Maritimes and Var.
Recently, two specific types of assistance have been introduced. The ESA BIC is designed to help start-ups using technology from the space sector, with the support of the European Space Agency and the backing of the Pégase business cluster. The European ENERGEIA project improves the assistance provided to projects using the results of public research in the clean energy and smart grid sectors.