Living and working in the South of France: why choose the Sud region?

With an entrepreneurial population and a fertile environment for innovation, the Sud region offers a dynamic and attractive economic ecosystem that welcomes talent from around the world.

The Sud region’s vibrant economy is founded on a world-class network of education, training, and research facilities:

  • an array of international high schools, top post-secondary institutions, and two universities with official Initiatives of Excellence (IdEX) certification
  • globally renowned research centers, including the recently opened 3IA center for artificial intelligence
  • economic networks to boost innovation with eight competitiveness clusters and a range of business hubs
  • 4 French Tech networks that act as drivers for the regional tech companies and start-ups
  • a business environment that welcomes international investment and is open to the world thanks to quality data infrastructure and highly linked air, road, rail, river, and sea transportation networks
  • a rich fabric of start-ups and SMEs that fosters expertise and innovations

All of this makes the Sud region ideal for creating a successful harmony between private life and professional ambitions. This is the region that makes the world dream!

“The Sud region, the heart of the South of France”

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An ideal location for your soft landing

Thanks to its advantageous geostrategic position, the Sud region is the gateway to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East and an ideal location to access diverse markets.

The Sud region is also perfectly connected to the French territory with an efficient transportation network to Paris and other major economic centers in France.

And with its geographical proximity to the southern shore of the Mediterranean, combined with the presence of a large African diaspora in the region, the Sud region is a prime location for reaching markets in Africa.

Thanks to this central location, the Sud region is the ideal place for your soft landing. Seize this opportunity for your new project, investment, or start-up!

 

The region is home to:

2
major international airports
Nice Côte d’Azur (direct connections to the USA, China, Russia, and the Gulf States)
and Marseille Provence with a total of
more than 25 million passengers in 2019

15
TGV stations
on the high-speed rail network that connects the region to the main French and European cities (Paris in less than three hours, Barcelona, Genoa, London, Brussels, Geneva, Milan…)

#1
French port
the Port of Marseille Fos is the main passenger port in France (three million passengers each year)

Toulon
#1 port
serving Corsica
and Antibes: the biggest marina in Europe

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To facilitate your move to our territory, the Region Sud has considered everything you might need and prepared a welcome guide composed of two complementary volumes: Welcome to the Region Sud & the Practical Guide for Moving to the Sud Region. These booklets contain all the essential information you will need to prepare for your arrival.

Let yourself be amazed by what awaits you and discover the diverse facets of the Sud region: the economic opportunities, the dynamic R&D ecosystem, the international appeal, the cultural vitality, the quality of life, and much much more.
The Sud region is an authentic territory with a global perspective that is sure to delight you, whether you are coming alone or with family and whether you love the outdoors, culture, or an entrepreneurial atmosphere.
Take one more step towards your new life!

An international talent pool

The Sud region is a fast-growing business destination, a wellspring of innovation, and a great source of talent:

  • it has an exceptionally dynamic economy in terms of business and job creation
  • it has an ecosystem that encourages innovation and development
  • it has a highly skilled workforce thanks to the excellent range of educational and training programs

Talents, entrepreneurs, project leaders, families, students… You can build a bright future for yourself here in any of the Sud region’s six thriving departments.

A region enjoying an economic and professional boom

The Sud region: a dynamic ecosystem!

The region is home to a rich network of small and medium-sized businesses and long-established corporations in strategic sectors such as aerospace, tech, industry, defense, agri-food, and many others. This is a testament to the quality of life and business environment in the South of France.
The region has a robust employment base with two million active workers and a substantial increase in the recruitment of professional-level employees in recent years. The Sud region is also home to an entrepreneurial culture that makes it the #3 region in France for new companies.
Whether you are an entrepreneur seeking to start a new business, a company seeking to expand, or somebody interested in taking over an existing business, the Region Sud is here to help support you and develop your project.

 
 

A few key figures:

  • more than 613 000 companies (including more than 4900 with more than 50 employees)
  • more than 1 900 000 jobs in the Sud region
  • #2 region for attracting professional-level employees
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A land of talent and expertise

The Sud region is a land of opportunities, and it has a wealth of top infrastructure that can help companies develop in their areas of expertise (biotechnologies, digital & IT, fashion, culture & tourism, green transition, natural living, immunology, health, blue economy, personal services, communication, agri-food, chemistry & materials, etc.).

The region offers a unique ecosystem with an exceptional combination of eight competitiveness clusters, eight world-renowned laboratories, high-level research centers, industrial associations, technology platforms, technology transfer specialists, and start-up incubators. And let’s not forget Marseille, which ranks among the Top 50 most innovative cities in the world.

  • ITER(International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor): An international fusion experiment that involves worldwide collaboration (35 countries) and a €20-billion budget that aims to show that the unlimited energy that powers the sun and the stars can be feasibly harnessed on earth. Located at the Cadarache site (Bouches-du-Rhône department).
  • Sophia Antipolis: Europe’s leading technology park is a world reference in innovation, research, and development. More than 1000 new jobs are created at the tech park every year in advanced fields such as artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, autonomous and connected vehicles, etc. Located in Sophia Antipolis (the Alpes-Maritimes department).
  • System Factory: an accelerator for innovative industrial projects that leverages the mature technologies that are already driving the territory’s leading economic sectors (operational center, data centers, design, and integration tools). Located in Toulon (the Var department).

 

The Sud region:

  • #2 region in France for international investments in R&D
  • #3 region for innovation in France with 396 requests for European patents
  • #3 region for the number of researchers
  • 29 000 jobs in R&D (including 19 000 researchers)

 

Education at the heart of progress

The Sud region is the third most attractive region for students with a complete and diversified educational network structured around four universities (Aix-Marseille, Avignon, Nice Côte d’Azur, and Toulon), globally ranked business schools, and renowned engineering schools.
Students have access to a range of training programs that have a global scope thanks to international partnerships, specialized Master’s degrees, and multidisciplinary programs in areas such as law, economics & management, political science, arts, literature, languages, science & technology, human & social sciences, and health sciences.
On top of this, the region provides options for life-long learning with apprenticeships, continuing education, and professional training available through 120 CFA training centers.

Key figures

  • 170 000 students at more than 40 university and higher education sites
  • 17 engineering schools nine of which have European-level EUR-ACE accreditation at the Master’s level
  • 15 business schools four of which are internationally accredited (EQUIS, AMBA, AACSB)

 

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For the youngest population:

The Sud region has the second highest concentration of international schools in France with 26 international schools for primary and secondary education, including 15 in the Alpes-Maritimes, 7 in Marseille, 3 in Avignon and 1 in Manosque.

  • more than 18 000 students enrolled in international, bi-national or European sections
  • 173 European sections
  • 49 international sections

 

 

Focus on the EIPACA international school in Manosque (Alpes-de-Haute Provence):

Located near the ITER site, the school welcomes more than 1000 students from kindergarten to high school. It has six language sections, with students splitting time between French instruction and classes in their chosen language.

 

Focus on the Cité Scolaire Internationale in Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône):

Starting in 2024, the Cité Scolaire Internationale will welcome nearly 2100 students from primary school to high school and will offer a unique educational program in five different languages.

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A region at the heart of the action

The Sud region shines thanks to its dynamic economy and thriving ecosystem, and this attracts major international events and conferences related to its sectors of excellence. These events allow professionals to meet, share experiences, discover new business opportunities, and recruit talent. The list of industry events, trade shows, and conferences in the Sud region includes Euromaritime, Usine Extraordinaire, BioFIT, OCOVA AlpMedNet, the Cannes Film Festival, the Mediterranean of the Future conference, and the MIPIM real estate exhibition.

Thanks to its social, economic, touristic, cultural, and sporting diversity, the Sud region also hosts major annual events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix de France in Le Castelet (Var), the Enduro World Series mountain biking event in Les Orres (Hautes-Alpes), the VentouxMan triathalon (Vaucluse), the Iron Man France triathalon (Alpes-Maritimes), the Voiles de Saint-Tropez regatta (Var), and the SailGP regatta (Marseille)…

We are waiting for you!

They chose the Sud region!

These entrepreneurs have chosen to invest and develop their projects in the region. They tell us why…

“I chose the Côte d’Azur for the quality of life, of course, but also for the presence of technically skilled employees and the dynamic ecosystem linked to my business in the environmental sector. I was also attracted to the Côte d’Azur by the willingness of local stakeholders to develop new economic initiatives, notably with Nice EcoVallée, a project that concentrates all aspects of sustainable development in the same area.”

Clément Nanteuil, CEO and Founder of Klearia

Clement-Nantueil
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“I took over Technic Aviation, which specializes in the maintenance of aeronautical equipment, in April 2011. There is a rich fabric of associations, public organizations, public-private partnerships, and entrepreneurial initiatives that are highly active in helping with the creation or takeover of a business, and this makes life easier for entrepreneurs.”

Olivier Marche, President of Technic Aviation

“We were pleasantly surprised by the quality and depth of the labor pool, whether in Aix, Marseille, or the Sud region as a whole. We took advantage of the recent lockdown to move part of our company to Aix-en-Provence. The region is beautiful, and the commute to the office is five or ten minutes for our team, something that is unheard of in Paris.”

Anaïs Prétot, Co-founder and Managing Director of LiveMentor

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Your risingSUD contact

The Sud region: a remarkable network of stakeholders in the regional economy

Team France Invest is a national economic development initiative that includes all the public stakeholders concerned with enhancing the economic attractiveness of the Sud region. Based on a partnership governance system, Team France Invest works with economic development stakeholders to define collaborative working methods and a shared action plan. The coordination of operations in the Sud region is entrusted to risingSUD.
This means that risingSUD and its partners at Team France Invest are available to support all your projects in the Sud region. They can offer the best solutions to make your investment a success and the best services to welcome your talents.

risingSUD, the economic development agency for the Sud region, is your contact point to welcome you and answer your initial questions concerning HR, including help with recruitment and interpreting and applying French labor laws.

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Annabelle LEROY

Chargée de Mission International,
Compétences & Talents

aleroy@risingsud.fr

Tel :+33 (0)4 91 14 06 98
Cel: +33 (0)6 79 47 96 72

BAT Provence
81-83 Bd de Dunkerque
CS 30394, 13217 Marseille Cedex 02

We work in conjunction with our network of departmental and metro economic development agencies as well as a selection of top experts that we can call upon at any time to ensure your project receives the daily assistance necessary for its success.

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We work closely with local employment and training organizations, including the DREETS labor and employment service (formerly DIRECCTE), the Pôle emploi employment agency, the APEC jobs platform, the Académie d’Aix-Marseille & the Académie de Nice school boards, the AFPA professional training service, and the OFII immigration and integration service…

The entire network of support structures in the Sud region shares the same ambition: to help your project succeed. Together, we are creating the tools that are essential to your move to the region, such as the Welcome to the Sud region guide or the human resources edition of the OIR strategic sector guides.

We also organize events on a wide range of topics connected to human resources, including HR webinars, special programs for entrepreneurs and takeovers, peer-to-peer co-development workshops, and networking events for exchanging and sharing best practices between large companies and SMEs.