Quality of life and career are often opposed, presented as irreconcilable choices. However, this is ignoring the economic dynamism of medium-sized towns, such as Agen and its agglomeration. The combination of a network of innovative companies and a quality environment today attracts international profiles as well as students. “Lhe decade 2010-2020 was that of regional metropolises of more than 300,000 inhabitants. My conviction is that the decade 2020-2030 will be that of medium-sized cities. The attractiveness will focus on agglomerations of less than 100,000 inhabitants capable of offering a good level of service », Says the president of the agglomeration of Agen, Jean Dionis.
To forge this conviction, Jean Dionis benefited from a privileged position. Its agglomeration has 96,000 inhabitants and the city it administers – Agen, 33,000 inhabitants – is located one hour from both Bordeaux and Toulouse. ” The movement is reversed: before the Agenais left to work in these cities. From now on, people from Bordeaux and Toulouse come to live with us, to escape traffic congestion and find affordable real estate. », He notes. A movement that could be further strengthened with the massive adoption of teleworking. However, seeing in the agglomeration of Agen only a rear base for city dwellers in search of a place where to telecommute would be a mistake. Its power of attraction continues to grow, while the companies present in its territory shine in France and internationally.
SUPPORTING THE GROWTH OF ECONOMIC NUGGETS
The agglomeration of Agen has built its prosperity on a triptych of activities. It is thus one of the leaders in the pharmaceutical and phytosanitary sector, such as UPSA, which was founded there in 1935. Its historical expertise in the food industry has never wavered and is embodied in the Agropole. Finally, its central geographical position in the Southwest quarter has enabled it to carve out a choice share in the logistics, storage and transport sectors. In addition to these positions, there is an important component of innovation, through research centers and companies positioned in sectors of the future, such as renewable energies. ” NOTur latest creation, the Technopole Agen Garonne, aims to welcome both a business incubator and fast-growing companies. It was designed on the basis of a dialogue with companies, in order to be able to cover all their needs. », Emphasizes Jean Dionis. This ranges from the High Environmental Quality (HQE) labeling of the site to the reprocessing of wastewater, including a nursery or the recovery of the heat emitted by the production sites.
The advantages of the Technopole have not escaped the Fonroche Group, specialist in renewable energies. The company, created in 2008 in Agen, has experienced very strong growth. She is now looking for a new site for the Fonroche Eclairage Solaire head office. ” The Technopole is an option that we are considering, explains Laurent Lubrano, Managing Director. It has a dedicated motorway exit, which is very convenient as we receive many international visitors. “Whatever the location chosen, the support of the Agglomeration will be omnipresent, the management of business land being one of its priority missions. “ Our growth has resulted in significant land needs, confirms Alexandra Fregonese, CEO of Laboratoires Innovi. The Agglomeration of Agen found us land that met our specific constraints, supported us in a change of PLU (Local Urban Plan). Without such close interaction, our expansion would have been more difficult. Support from the community can also take more original forms, as Fonroche’s experience shows. ” We manufacture autonomous solar street lights. The Agglomeration of Agen was one of the first to trust us by installing them. Agen and its surroundings have become a real international showroom for our products. Building on this experience, in an agglomeration of this size, has been decisive in our growth », Testifies Laurent Lubrano.
THE STRENGTH OF AN ECOSYSTEM
Such growth would not be possible without men either. “ There is an important ecosystem around the companies of the agglomeration of Agen », Confirms Laure Lechertier, head of Market Access, Corporate and Public Affairs, Social Responsibility at UPSA. The latter thus has 33% of regional suppliers and maintains a close relationship with other business leaders. “ Our group, like the agglomeration, increases the opportunities for discussion and reflection together on strategic, long-term development. “
A reflection that concerns, for example, the accessibility of the territory thanks to the TGV or the training of a workforce in connection with the needs of the actors. ” We have access to a qualified workforce, in particular because UPSA has contributed to the creation in Agen of a work-study Bac Pro which meets the specific needs of local industries. », Explains Laure Lechertier. Laurent Lubrano and Alexandra Fregonese both confirm that it is easy to attract high-value profiles, including in high-tech research and development positions. Quality of life, accessibility of land, attractive differential between the cost of living and the level of wages and fluid circulation are all highly appreciated advantages. ” We have very little turnover, people are good here and no longer want to leave », Smiles Laurent Lubrano.