Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, the region to be

Set up your company in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France's leading industrial region

A few key figures:

8 million inhabitants

70,000 km²

France's leading industrial region

France's leading tourism region

France's second leading export region

France's second leading region for direct foreign investments

65,000 new companies created every year

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is a member of the "4 Motors for Europe", Lombardy (Italy), la Catalonia (Spain) and Bade-Württemberg (Germany): this cooperation agreement aims to strengthen the economic, scientific and technological competitiveness of these four Regions, which represent 36 million inhabitants and 6.78% of the European GDP!

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, a region with all the attributes of a country !

  • A GDP comparable to that of Finland or Denmark (leading GDP in France after the Paris region), 8th leading GDP in Europe: €240 billion
  • A region as large as Ireland (70,000 m² of land area, 13% of France's land area)
  • 8 million inhabitants, comparable to Switzerland or Austria

Located at the crossroads of Europe, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has excellent transportation infrastructures:

  • More than 1600 km of motorway and a position at the centre of the major North-South corridor (Lille-Paris-Lyon-Marseille) and at the crossroads for Switzerland and Italy
  • 2 easily accessible major international airports (Lyon Saint-Exupéry and Geneva)
  •  An efficient rail network : nearly 30 high-speed TGV train stations over the region. Lyon is 2 hours from Paris
  • France's leading river port for container traffic

The region's dynamism is reflected in its constantly growing population (+58,000 inhabitants/year on average) and its talent pool with more than 300,000 students (including 30,000 foreign students) in all fields, which makes it one of France's youngest regions.

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has targeted 8 fields of excellence, each based on a complete ecosystem, comprised of major corporations, midcaps and dynamic SMEs plus competitiveness and innovation clusters, which federate these networks and encourage innovation between these players:

  • Industry of Tomorrow
  • Agriculture/Food Processing/Forestry
  • Construction and public works
  • Energy
  • Digital
  • Mobility and smart transportation systems
  • Health
  • Sports, Mountains and Tourism

4,400 foreign companies have made the decision to set-up in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. All have found set-up solutions that meet their needs. Incubators, breeding-grounds, accelerators, business centres, open office areas, light industrial buildings, logistics sites and land: the region offers a comprehensive range of property solutions. 

The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Entreprises Agency supports the territory's economic development and assists foreign companies free of charge in all phases of their set-up project, whether it involves a sales office, a new R&D centre or a production site: property search, sectorial information, access to the network of local partners, HR assistance, administrative formalities, etc.

An ideal location to start a business

Located at the crossroads of Europe, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has excellent transportation infrastructures that favour economic exchanges between regional companies and the rest of the world.

By road :

More than 1600 km of motorway and a position at the heart of the major North-South corridor (Lille-Paris-Lyon-Marseille) and the preferred gateway to Switzerland and Italy.

  • Lyon-Paris: 4 hr via the A6
  • Clermont-Ferrand – Paris: 4 hr via the A71
  • Grenoble-Paris: 5 hr via the A6
  • Lyon-Marseille: 3 hr via the A7
  • Lyon-Bordeaux: 5hr20 via the A89
  • Lyon-Turin: 3hr30 via the A43
  • Lyon-Geneva: 1hr30 via the A42 and A40

By air:

2 easily accessible major international airports (Lyon Saint-Exupéry and Geneva) Each of these airports services more than 120 destinations around the world by direct flights 

  • Lyon-Milan: 1hr (1 to 3 round trips/day)
  • Lyon-Zurich : 1hr05 (1 to 3 round trips/day)
  • Lyon-Frankfort: 1hr20 (4 round trips/day)
  • Lyon-Brussels: 1hr15 (2 to 6 round trips/day)
  • Lyon-London: 1hr30 (5 to 7 round trips/day)
  • Lyon-Dubai: 6hr20 (1 round trip/day)
  • Geneva-New-York: 8hr40 (2 round trips/day)
  • Geneva-Montreal:  8hr05 (1 round trip/day)

By rail:

A dense rail network

  • More than 3700 km of rail, including 2000 km of electrified lines
  • Nearly 30 high-speed TGV train stations
  • Lyon is 2hr from Paris
  • Grenoble and Clermont-Ferrand are 3hrs from Paris

By ship:

The port of Lyon: France's leading river port for container traffic

  •  184 ha
  • 70 companies
  • 3 oil tanker terminals
  • 2 container terminals equipped with high-performance equipment
  • 12 million tonnes of goods handled/year
  • Located at the edge of the city, the port of Lyon is a veritable multimodal hub, receiving more than 700 ships and 1700 trains every year and nearly 5000 lorries per day.
  • Lyon/Fos-sur-Mer in 30hr, Lyon/Sète in 38hr

By fibre:

First region to complete the deployment of fibre optic:

  • objective is to cover 100%  of the territory with Very High Bandwidth by 2021

8 fiels of excellence

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has targeted 8 fields of excellence. These fields rely on 14 competitiveness clusters and 18 regional clusters.

  • Industry of tomorrow: modernise industry through innovation
    Key figures: 2,750 companies with 100,000 jobs
    Technologies: Process automation, Robotics and Cobotics, Digital simulation, Additive manufacturing

Our flagship companies: Add-Up, Air Liquide, Constellium, Visiativ, Areva, etc.

Poles and clusters: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Industrie 4.0, Viameca, Minalogic, Aerospace cluster, Plastipolis, Coboteam, etc.  

  • Agriculture/Food Processing/Forestry: meet the economic and environmental challenges
    Key figures: 2,500 companies, 62,700 sites with 176,000 jobs
    Technologies: Ecoagriculture practices, Agrotechnology, Food processing transformation

Our flagship companies: Limagrain, Danone, Sodiaal, Sicarev, Philagro, Bayer CropScience, etc.

Poles and clusters: Nutravita, Cluster Bio, Terralia, Céréales Vallée

  • Construction and public works: for an integrated approach in living areas
    Key figures: 73,000 companies with 135,000 jobs
    Technologies: Innovative and biosourced materials, BIM, Instrumentation and regulation systems, Smart buildings

            Our flagship companies: Eiffage, Lafarge, Somfy, Matière, Schneider Electric, Vicat, etc.

Poles and clusters: Indura, E2IA, Pôle innovations constructives, Eco-énergies, Cluster lumière

  • Energy: energy mix growth leader

        Key figures: 450 companies with 50,000 jobs

       Technologies: Smart grids, Storage, Renewable energies

Our flagship companies: EDF, Schneider Electric, Engie, Siemens, Nexans, GE, etc.

Poles and clusters: Eco-Energies, E2IA, Axelera, Tenerrdis

  • Digital: the European Digital Valley
    Key figures: 15,000 companies with 60,000 jobs
    Technologies: Photonics, Captors, Embedded software, Nanotechnologies, Augmented reality

Our flagship companies: Almerys, Atos, Cegid group, Soitec, Intel, Fujitsu, etc.

Poles and clusters: Minalogic, Imaginove, Digital League, e-cluster, Coboteam

  • Mobility and Smart transportation systems: a pioneer region for vehicles of tomorrow in the city of tomorrow
    Key figures: 800 companies with 130,000 jobs
    Technologies: Autonomous industrial vehicle design, Connected infrastructure, electro-mobility, Materials, Software, Modelling

Our flagship companies: Michelin, Renault Trucks, Navya, Iveco, Symbio, For City, etc.

Poles and clusters: Indura, LUTB, Elastopôle, ViaMeca, Minalogic

  • Health: develop the medicine of tomorrow
    Key figures: 1,200 companies with 80,000 jobs
    Technologies: Clinical tests, Nanomedicine, Biotechnologies, Orthopaedic implants, Specialised textiles

Our flagship companies: Sanofi-Pasteur, Biomérieux, Roche, Mérial, Medtronic, 3i Nature, etc.

Poles and clusters: Lyon Biopôle, InnovaTherm, I-care, Analgesia Partnership, Nutravita, Pharmabiotic Research Institute

  • Sport, Mountains and Tourism: capitalise on our natural advantages and boost the leisure economy
    Key figures: 800 companies with 50,000 jobs
    Scope: Mountain development, sport and equipment, thermalism, tourism

Our flagship companies: POMA, Petzl, Rossignol, Babolat , Picture, GoSport, etc.

           Poles and clusters: Cluster Montagne, Sporaltec, Innovatherm, Outdoor Sports Valley 

Lyon, best city to start a business in France

  • A dynamic and attractive region for the new populations:

Thanks to an unemployment rate less than the national average, the vitality of its economic fabric, an unquestionable quality of life and the strong appeal of its 4 major cities, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region gains every year nearly 60,000 new inhabitants, who swell the existing population of 8 million inhabitants.

Thus in 2017, Clermont-Ferrand was classified at top of the leading mid-size cities for its quality of life (l'Express), Lyon as the best city to start a business in and greater Grenoble as the most attractive city for managers and students (Etudiant magazine's annual hit parade).

These new populations, attracted by the quality of regional life, swell the talent pool of nearly 300,000 students, making it easier for companies to recruit. As such, 15% of French engineers are educated in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Furthermore, there are three international schools in the region, which receive expatriates' children from kindergarten to high school (Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon et Grenoble)

  • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: nature, sport, culture and gastronomy:

  • Europe's leading mountain region (67% of the territory is in a mountain zone)
  • 172 ski stations spread over 3 mountain ranges: the largest skiable area in the world
  • The Chaîne des Puys, a unique group of 80 volcanoes recently classified by UNESCO as a world natural heritage site (added to the 5 sites already classified)
  • 11 natural parks and 49 natural reserves
  • 69 GR hiking itineraries (8,278 km)
  • Leading region in number of sports clubs (21,640 clubs for all sports)
  • Leading region for festivals with more than 400 festivals, including many world-class events: Jazz in Vienne, Street Theatre Festival in Aurillac, Festival of Lights in Lyon, International Festival of Short Films in Clermont-Ferrand, etc.
  • 24 thermal stations, 34 casinos and 94 golf clubs
  • France's leading gastronomic regions with 93 Michelin Guide starred restaurants
  • Leading region for Organic and labelled agriculture production (AOP, IGP, etc.)
  • A team at your service to assist your company's set-up and development:
  • Economic and sectorial information on the region
  • Organisation of your visit and your meetings
  • Search and selection of properties available for sale or rent
  • Support to help opening and managing your French structure
  • Human resources support and help recruiting personnel
  • Assistance putting you in contact with the local ecosystem and your future partners
  • Studies of available financial assistance
  • A local service suited to your requirements

French research centres are concentrated in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

  • Training in excellence:

Training is one of the priority pillars of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Young talents from the advanced university courses and grandes écoles (prestigious, university-level institute with competitive entrance examination) are the future employees of the region's companies:

  • 300,000 students, including 30,000 foreign students
  • 3 university clusters: Lyon-Saint-Etienne, Grenoble-Savoie and Clermont-Auvergne
  • 42 Universities and Grandes Ecoles (Ecole Centrale de Lyon, INSA Lyon, Mines Saint-Etienne, ISIMA, Polytech, Grenoble INP, etc.)
  • 1 regional campus to accelerate education in the digital professions (500 students today, 2,500 in 2020)
  • 15% of French engineers are educated in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
  • Innovation serving companies

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is the leading region for R&D investments with 6.5 billion euros invested. It brings together more than 40,000 researchers and engineers in 600 public and private laboratories. The region is positioned as France's 2nd leading region for patents filed, with more than 2,600 patents filed every year. 

Regional R&D also relies on several private research centres, like the Campus RDI Michelin, or the sites of Total, Limagrain, bioMérieux, STMicroelectronics, Schneider Electric, etc. The territory's innovative know-how enjoys strong recognition.

  • Major international laboratories and facilities

20% of French research centres are concentrated in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, covering all research subjects related to the 8 fields of excellence defined.

Among the most prestigious:

  • CEA (Commissariat for nuclear energy and alternative energies)
  • CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research)
  • ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory)
  • INRIA (National Institute of computer and automation research)
  • International cancer research centre
  • Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL)
  • INRA (National Institute of Agronomical Research), etc.