Start-Up and Innovation in the Sun – Welcome to the Cote d’Azur!

Written on 15 May 2019.

The Cote d’Azur in the south of France is well-known for its warm climate, 120 kilometre coastline and stunning towns and cities like Nice, Cannes and St Tropez. It is also home to Europe’s leading science & technology park, has one of the world’s smartest cities and is a major player in La FrenchTech’s thriving start-up and innovation ecosystem.

So, if you are considering setting up your own business or want to connect and work alongside some of the world’s leading technology companies and enjoy an amazing quality of life, Nice and the Cote d’Azur could be for you!

Here are 5 major innovation clusters in the region to give you a taste for the Riviera business lifestyle:

  1. Pioneering Smart City – In 2016 Nice was awarded French Smart City Pioneer by the Ministry of the Environment and recently named one of the top 15 Smart City’s worldwide. Nice isn’t just smart though, it is also one of the top 50 places worldwide to open up a start-up with an impressive structure designed to power innovation including accelerators and incubators in Nice and throughout the region.
  2. Home to the Silicon Valley of Europe – with over 2,200 companies employing more than 36,000 people from 60+ nationalities, Sophia Antipolis is Europe’s leading science and technology park. Some of the world’s leading companies have their R & D and high value-added service teams based here including IBM, Bosch, Amadeus, Oracle, Samsung, Dassault Systems, Cisco and Symantec.
  3. Dedicated to CleanTech – the entire Cote d’Azur region is committed to the development and implementation with over 600 companies and dedicated research organisations working to deliver cleaner energy and smarter, connected cities. Nice Eco-Vallee is a large-scale development project in a designated 10,000-hectare site where eco-offices and cleantech leaders will be based to create cutting-edge clean technology.
  4. From Space to the Sweet Smell of Success – The region is also home to 2 important (but very different) industry clusters: Aeronautics & Space and Fragrances & Cosmetics. Thales & Thales Alenia Space are based in Cannes and lead the way in satellite production and R & D, supported by the telecoms expertise in nearby Sophia Antipolis. Established in the 16th century in the Grasse region, innovation in all things perfume and cosmetic is part of the area’s DNA. From cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants to the development of ‘sustainable chemistry’, the region of Grasse is recognised worldwide for its’ sweet-scented expertise and innovation
  5. International Connection: Nice Cote d’Azur International Airport is the second biggest in France, serving over 100 destinations in 35 countries. It is also easily accessible (especially from EDHEC as it is just opposite our campus!) as it is only 5km from Nice centre and just 20 minutes’ drive to Sophia Antipolis. Plus, the new Nice tramway system makes it even easier to get around the city and to and from the airport.


If you are want to make a significant change to your career or want to start your own business, Nice is a great place to begin your transformation and a Global MBA at EDHEC will help you to accelerate your plans. Download our brochure or get in touch with our team for more information To find out more on innovation in region, visit

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