“Aix-Marseille must adopt new methods to reveal its potential” (JL Chauvin, CCI Aix-Marseille Provence)

LA TRIBUNE – Do business leaders have morale?

JEAN-LUC CHAUVIN – The climate is clearly anxiety-provoking – anxiety-provoking on energy issues, anxiety-provoking on the price of raw materials, anxiety-provoking on the fact of finding labor… However, the reality is a little different than this feeling. The business survey metropolitan survey that we just conducted says that for the second quarter of 2022, the morale of business leaders and the health of businesses are quite good. We are on a trend where the fundamentals are there, we see the adaptability of business leaders in the face of difficulties – and of their employees – and additional agility. It is useless to be afraid to be afraid. Businesses have demonstrated resilience over the past two years. The challenge of energy sobriety, which is a major crisis, requires us to save energy in the short term, but in the longer term, it is an opportunity. In all crises, there is an element of opportunity. This will allow us to accelerate energy and environmental transitions, it will change the way we work and learn to better reuse certain materials rather than produce them. It’s complicated, complex, but I remain confident.

The territory is attractive, the various studies show it. Especially in health. What is missing ?

The metropolitan territory is indeed recognized in terms of research, in terms of transfer between laboratory research and the business world… We are also identified on cutting-edge subjects such as infectiology, cancerology, immunology, rare diseases… We have, more broadly, a subject with the silver economy. But it is a sector that must be strengthened by attracting medium-sized companies and helping smaller structures, established in the territory, to grow, in order to complete the ecosystem in particular. For this we need available land, but not in the four corners of the metropolis. A land that is available where basic research is installed, where the transition to entrepreneurship is installed. We have a lot of trained employees here. However, it is the ecosystem that gives visibility. That’s what works in the world, that’s what works in the sector. We need to create a sounding board.

The port is also a lever of attractiveness, it is also in full development, teeming with projects and wants to be an entrepreneurial port. How does the CCI work on these attractiveness issues ?

The port has been the engine of economic development for 2600 years, Marseille was made by sea, by trade, this is nothing new. We have infrastructure but we also have land, which is an important point. And yes, the GPMM can accelerate, go further. The port must regain its place as the leading French port. We must increase support for industrial decarbonization in this territory and take the lead. The port is an element where raw goods arrive and from which finished goods leave. Or the opposite. Raw goods must be processed before being put back on the sea. It must be understood that the weight of industry for port equipment is essential. Here, we have 50% natural land, the subject of decarbonization is crucial. And we are particularly well placed for this. We have energies, photovoltaics, hydrogen – on which we are accelerating – innovations – as with Jupiter 1000 – but above all, we have Iter. We have land. So we have all the elements to succeed. But once we have laid all that down, what do we need? I am very sensitive to the fact that the President of the Republic announced on September 2, his very strong intention to make this port a major element of the attractiveness of the territory. There is talk of new services, a public inquiry was conducted for the rail service. Emmanuel Macron said, and I quote that “the port deserves massive investments, it must be modernized, better connected, also thought of as a Grand”. It is particularly a question of the river. We must now accelerate on this point. The subject has been on the table for a year. You have to go further than the Rhône and the Saône. It is necessary to create the connection which makes it possible to connect to the major European corridors and to benefit from another major investment which is the Lyon-Turin railway line. We also have to imagine that we could send goods back to the heart of the market, to Northern Europe. We have to start now because it’s a long time that will serve the generations for 30 or 40 years from now. This territory must explain to France and France must explain, with the players in the territory, to Europe – because the investments are colossal and they will benefit Europe – the interest of these projects . And there, we will regain market share. But all of these topics must fit into a much bigger plan. The president said the port deserved respect. But he also deserves to have a chairman of the supervisory board as soon as possible. We need someone to match our potential, our ambitions. Ideally someone who knows the economy, port matters, who has experience in terms of goods or mobility and if he knows the territory, that’s even better. We need someone who does not use the port politically, who does not make us fall back into old struggles when we have found a peaceful port for several years. Traditionally, he was a member of the economic world and for a long time the president of the chamber of commerce and industry.

The Plan Marseille en Grand has a very large section dedicated to entrepreneurship. The consensus seems to have been made from the start. Can it, from this point of view, create a real swing?

All the economic players have joined forces. The CCI AMP was named winner of one of the crossroads of entrepreneurship, baptized Instinct Biz’ and which opened its doors. We must continue to deploy this plan very quickly and this is probably a real turning point for the future. We must not fight against each other but fight together to obtain as many files as possible. This common, collective working method, with respect for everyone, must become a habit. And this method must apply to work with communities, which must rely more on the economic world. At a time when money is scarce, we must avoid spending twice on identical or complementary subjects. This collective game initiated by Marseille in Grand spreads, infuses itself with communities.

The question of attractiveness also concerns the attractiveness of talent. The health crisis seems to have caused a delay, perhaps new, on the part of employees who came, in particular, from Paris and its region. How do you explain this and especially how to continue to ride this wave of interest.

The real subject of attractiveness is the urban salary. It’s how to reconcile private life, family, outdoor activity and how we reconcile this with professional life. This is what drives us to rethink working methods in order to restore attractiveness and meet the expectations of talent.

Another tool of attractiveness but also of development for the companies of the territory, the Olympic Games represent a real opportunity. Unknown ? How to encourage companies to position themselves on this subject (and on calls for tenders?) How to work on inheritance?

The Olympic Games, and the Paralympic Games, are an exceptional opportunity. In all Olympic cities, there is a before and an after. Sometimes the after is better than before, sometimes it’s not. This is what should not be missed. There are several topics. Including that of the markets. I invite VSE SMEs to regularly visit the platforms created expressly to respond to calls for tenders, in particular on local and responsible purchasing opportunities. The Olympics concern 10,300 jobs according to the study we conducted. This is an opportunity to highlight our expertise and, I am very attached to it, our innovations. This is where we have hydrogen boats. What we will miss will not be innovations but infrastructures. This is what becomes urgent, urgent. There, we will leave a legacy.

We often talk about Africa and the links to be strengthened with the countries of the Mediterranean. Concretely, what are the projects that are moving forward? Where is Afric’Agora?

Africa is the history of this territory. I am satisfied that all communities today attach importance to it and closely follow this economic Africa. Africa’Link is a network that has nearly 200 members, 40% are African SMEs, 9 local committees have been deployed with ambassadors in Mauritania, Angola, Morocco, Tunisia, Djibouti, Madagascar, Côte d’Ivoire. .. Soon it will also be in English-speaking Africa. The community is growing and has received support from the Region, the City of Marseille and the Aix-Marseille Provence Metropolis. The next stage is indeed a totem place, which allows meetings, to learn about cultures, which offers the opportunity from Marseille to work with Europe. The project is progressing, a roadmap has been put in place, it is a shared place that will take place on the 30th floor of the La Marseillaise building, a symbol of business in Marseille. We also want the economic model to be viable and independent. We are in the process of leading the round table. One of the objectives is to also create totem places in Africa.

This round of table requires how much money?

We are conducting a consultation with entrepreneurs, alongside the CCI AMP and Africa’Link. 300,000 euros to 350,000 euros are needed. Of course, we are leading a consultation with the communities, we will need institutions such as the Metropolis, the Region, for the first steps. But then he must be independent.

What are the other countries towards which the territory should look? In particular, you conducted an information meeting on Vietnam…

We watch Asia a lot, indeed. Vietnam, Japan in particular on subjects of artificial intelligence and robotics. We are also looking at Canada and Quebec, on themes of blue economy, AI or health. It is a territory with which we have historical ties. With the Region, which is the economic leader, we will support startups at CES Las Vegas and we are renewing a learning expedition for SMEs who want to see innovation. Another learning expedition is planned for SMEs during the NRF in New York to discover these tech and innovation environments, to show what is happening elsewhere and allow them to react and anticipate. Because that’s how we acquire resilience, how we develop.

We are also looking at Europe, including Germany, Spain and Italy. This area has real potential. The transitions we are going through – social, environmental, societal – place this territory in a very advantageous position. We must adopt new methods to accelerate. This territory must become a pioneer territory. Consciousness must be awakened.