The region around Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport — Greater Roissy — has figured out a way to coordinate and advance the overlapping agendas of nearly 30 public and private entities. The common denominator is business attraction and a mutual interest in putting Paris’ Airport City in a class of its own. But how? The answer is Hubstart Paris, a partnership brand created to facilitate the settlement and growth of international companies in the area.
“Of course, it is a challenge to work together, with nearly 30 partners — territorial collectivities, state and economic development agencies, companies, chambers of commerce, public land planning offices, competitiveness clusters and associations,” says Elisabeth Le Masson, delegate for sustainable development at Aéroports de Paris and member of the Hubstart Paris Board of Directors. Here’s how it works: “A Board of Directors, chaired by the vice-president of the Paris Region Regional Council, decides the strategy; an executive committee, representing all stakeholders, proposes and implements actions. There is one action leader for each mission, and project groups are created on an ad hoc basis in order to implement our main actions — trade shows, prospecting missions, business tours of the Greater Roissy, for example.
“Some commissions are dedicated to a specific subject, for example the Sustainable Airport Area committee, which organizes each year the Sustainable Airport Areas International Seminar,” Le Masson elaborates. “‘The commissions together fuel the strategic vision. Since 2009, when Hubstart Paris was launched, we have learned to work together and to trust each other. As you can see, our Alliance works in an organized and very operational manner. Working together, as one team, we are stronger, and more effective. Each year, more than 30 actions are carried out by Hubstart Paris.”
Alliances for a Competitive Edge
In January 2011, Hubstart Paris formed an alliance with Aerotropolis Europe™, Paris to collaborate on global marketing of the assets at and around Paris Roissy-Charles de Gaulle International Airport. Aerotropolis Europe, Paris assembles a dozen business players located within an area combining the sectors from two local authorities around Paris Roissy-Charles de Gaulle international airport.
Since December 2009, the association has been actively promoting the area’s economic growth abroad and enhancing its image, especially through the creation of substantial business links with airport centers in the United States at Memphis (America’s Aerotropolis), and in China at Guangzhou (Asia’s Aerotropolis). The alliance was designed “to strengthen their relationship so as to more intensively put forward the assets of Greater Roissy internationally in the face of competition from other airports, and to conduct together operational initiatives to boost job-creating economic growth throughout the local authorities’ sectors,” explained a jointly issued press release.
More partnerships are now in place between Paris Charles de Gaulle and U.S. and Chinese airport cities, underscoring an emerging trend surrounding cross-border airport alliances designed to benefit investors in both markets — the Dubai and Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport foreign trade zones inked such a deal in March 2012.
A memorandum of understanding was signed in Pudong (China) on November 7, 2012, between Jean-Claude Dutilleux, chairman of the Paris Region Economic Development Agency, on behalf of the Hubstart Paris alliance, and the chairman of the Shanghai Free Trade Zones Administration, under the auspices and in the presence of Jiang Liang, mayor of Pudong District. The aim of the agreement is to encourage foreign companies to set up and expand around the two major hubs of Shanghai – Pudong and Paris Charles-de-Gaulle, thus creating jobs in companies whose economic growth is closely linked to their proximity to the airport. The MOU is similar to one it agreed to in 2011 with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
Vincent Gollain, chief economic development officer at the Paris Region Economic Development Agency and coordinator of Hubstart Paris, makes the case that the Greater Roissy Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport area is one of the most attractive areas in the Paris Region. It attracted 32 foreign investment projects in 2011, he relates. The Hubstart Paris alliance will give those and yet-to-be-announced capital investors a single point of service for their many project requirements.
“The attractiveness of the Greater Roissy is derived from the presence of a dense and comprehensive transport network — air, rail, river and road; an extended employment base; significant reserves of land at attractive prices; and sectors of excellence in, for example, aeronautics, freight logistics, business aviation, safety and security, corporate tourism and corporate events,” says Gollain. “These new business set-ups, which show a rise compared to 2010, are also the result of various promotional and canvassing campaigns.”
How does Hubstart Paris fit in?
“The Hubstart Paris alliance offers a wide range of free, confidential and bespoke services to companies seeking to expand, move or set up their business in the Greater Roissy Airport Area. We provide all the information, support and advice required to assist their business and to maximize their potential in the Paris Region, in France and Europe.” Hubstart Paris offers ongoing support as they develop their businesses, connecting them to an extensive network of contacts to create investment opportunities when they set up their business in the Greater Roissy Airport Area.
Companies will find a broad range of work space in Greater Roissy, says Gollain, from incubators, such as the Hubstart Paris Center located at the heart of Paris CDG International Airport offering flexible contracts tailored to specific needs, to business parks, logistics zones and office zones in and around the airport.
“Hubstart Paris is larger than the Airport City itself,” says Hubert Fontanel, real estate director at Aéroports de Paris. “It concerns the whole area around the airport — the Greater Roissy Airport Area, which is one of the most dynamic clusters in France and in Europe.”
And one of the most connected. Fontanel cites the following logistics attributes unique to this region:
[list style=”circle”][list_item]Paris-CDG is a leading hub: 7th in the world and 2nd in Europe for passengers; 6th in the world and 2nd in Europe for cargo and mail;[/list_item][list_item]Paris Le Bourget is 1st in Europe for business aviation;[/list_item][list_item]High-speed railway network (TGV);[/list_item][list_item]Intermodal connectivity with the Seine axis and the future Seine-Nord canal;[/list_item][list_item]Direct accessibility to the core city center;[/list_item][list_item]Major automatic train project, the “Grand Paris Express.”[/list_item][/list]
Key business sites include Roissypole, the international business district of the Airport City, at the heart of Paris-CDG Airport, which hosts many international companies in its 229,000 sq. m. (2.4 million sq. ft.) of office facilities. “Many new projects are scheduled for completion at Roissypole in the years ahead, including offices and hotels,” says Fontanel.
Convention and tourism sites include the International Trade Center project: a 13-hectare (32-acre) integrated business and convention complex, the only one of its kind in Europe; at 85,000 sq. m. (914,962 sq. ft.), Aéroville will be one of the largest shopping malls in the Paris Region. There is room to grow, says Fontanel. “There are still significant development and redevelopment capacities both on the airport and in the Airport Area.”
Note: This article first appeared in Site Selection magazine’s March 2013 issue and later in its bi-monthly Aerospace Report. It is reprinted here as part of a content partnership between Global Atlanta’s Airport City website and Site Selection.