Welcome to the French Alps !

Europe Smart Valleys

The region surrounding Grenoble, spanning from Valence to Chambéry and Annecy, has always been at the front of entrepreneurship and digital innovation. First, its natural hydro-power resources created a host of energy intensive industries, hence a full-fledged electrical engineering and electrical equipment industry in support. Starting in the 1960s and 1970s, the region contributed to the development of computer science in France thanks in particular to the presence of Capgemini, Bull (now Atos-Bull) and Hewlett-Packard (now HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise).  Starting in the 1980s, its digital economy saw a major boost as traditional industries embarked into the digital transformation.

Today, the region brings together both software and hardware competences. The former are represented by integrators such as Atos, Capgemini, Orange, Hardis or Xerox Research Center Europe, and software development businesses such as Bonitasoft, Corys Tess, Digimind, ProBayes, or Metrologic. The latter have traditionally been represented by actors such as HP, Bull, SOITEC or STMicroelectronics. In the 1990s, these companies began to develop ties as hardware and software grew to be intertwined. A trend which has continued to expand with the emergence of connected objects. In addition to the above mentioned companies, digital services and e-commerce companies such as Spartoo, Photoweb or Made in Design have now joined this digital web. Innovation clusters and public research centers such as Minalogic and Inria Rhônes-Alpes do reinforce the link between digital, micro and nanotechnologies.

A fertile environment to launch and grow a company

Close to the mountains, yet open to the Rhône Valley or Alpine connections with Italy and Switzerland, the region enjoys an outstanding quality of life.  Grenoble is the second largest English-speaking community in France.  Its population is young, sporty, qualified, innovative, with strong scientific focus.  Almost 25% of all jobs are in digital in Grenoble, as opposed to 8% average for France. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region has nearly 8 million inhabitants, is the second largest economy in France, and the second-favorite place for executives in France.

The region boasts an international culture with a unique blend of innovation, dedication and quality of life.  Grenoble has been ranked the world’s 5th most inventive city by Forbes Magazine in 2015, thanks to its sound industrial background, Top Universities and Research centers of excellence.  Just in Grenoble, more than 200 innovative startups have been created over the past ten years.


The startup ecosystem in Grenoble

Our startup ecosystem has for long been supported by proactive connections between education, research and entrepreneurship.

 “Silicon Valley’s hoodie-wearing tech entrepreneurs are the poster kids of innovation. But the innovators who are really changing the world are more likely to wear lab coats and hold government-related jobs in Grenoble, Munich or Tokyo”. (Source: Reuters’ Top 25 Global Innovators – Government).

 In Grenoble alone, the digital economy provides for 40,000 jobs, 550 companies and 6,800 students within a 25 km radius.  In Chambéry, just a 30-minute drive away from Grenoble, we have 230 innovative businesses on a modern business campus, supported by 5,000 students and 70 scientific, technical and engineering academic programs.

World class high level education forms the basemat of innovation and entrepreneurship 

Grenoble INP 

  • ENSIMAG, graduate school of engineering in computer science, applied mathematics and telecommunications
  • PHELMA, graduate school of engineering in physics, electronics and materials

Grenoble Alpes University

  • Education and research unit IM2AG
  • Polytech school of engineering
  • Doctorate school in mathematics and computer science

Grenoble Ecole de Management

  • Grenoble Graduate Business School
  • Information Systems Management School 

High caliber public laboratories hosting 5,000 researchers and covering the full scope of science and technology: CEA Tech (electronics, health science), INRIA (applied mathematics and computer science), CNRS and Université Grenoble Alpes (basic science), applied research units and academia (Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble INP) are very well connected to the entrepreneurial world through collaborative programmes or personel secondment.  These are supported by innovation clusters (Minalogic — embedded systems, Tenerrdis — Energy, INES — Solar Energy) and business parks with co-working spaces (Savoie Technolac, Inovallée, Rovaltain, Medicalps, Biopolis).

Several blue chip companies have chosen the region to set up R&D teams and product development labs: Atos/bull, Criteo, Ericsson, HP, Lam Research, Mentor Graphics, Oracle, Orange Labs, The Open Group, Salesforce, Schneider Electric, Soitec, STMicroelectronics, Xerox Research Center Europe.

Finally, the area offers a wealth of business support mechanisms

  • Economic project engineering and relocation assistance: AEPI-Invest in Grenoble-Isère, France
  • Innovation funding: Minalogic, Imaginove, Tenerrdis, INES, Lyonbiopôle and Axelera competitive clusters
  • Promotion and business development: Digital League,
  • Tech transfer: Linksium technology transfer accelerator, Floralis
  • Technology platforms: CEA-Leti, CEA-Liten, Nanobio, Clinatec, Predis, Eccami, Multicom, Maimosine, Medicalps, Biopolis

When it comes to digital entrepreneurship, the French Tech in the Alps network (encompassing Digital Grenoble, Annecy Startup, Digital Savoie in Chambéry and Valence-Romans Digital) creates the right connections for entrepreneurs.  The network’s values are: transparency, openness, integrity, empowerment, consideration.  Each member of the alliance runs an open, collaborative programme, to connect startups with the human, financial and market resources they need for their development.