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Businesses and territories, a duo for revitalizing growth

The symposium "Industry, Our Future", held from June 3rd to the 10th, gave pride of place to industry in the economy of the 21st century, while also emphasizing France's need for innovation. Forward-looking reindustrialization will not happen without compliance between businesses and territories, according to Antoine Frérot.

President of the Enterprise and Territories Commission of the Institute of Enterprise think tank, the CEO of Veolia contributed to the drafting of the report published in October 2013 called "Businesses and Territories: ending mutual ignorance".

As such and in light of the report's conclusions, on June 7th Antoine Frérot reviewed the richness of the relationship between a territory and its businesses, "a prerequisite to their mutual success", at the conference entitled "Industry, Our Future", in Cerisy-la-Salle (Manche).

There's no doubt, in his view, "the deindustrialisation of France is a clear sign of its 'deterritorialization' of a portion of the economy".

From "benign neglect" to "shared success"

Yet, at best the "mutual ignorance", and "benign neglect" that often settles in between businesses and their territories, must absolutely be replaced with strategic relationships and rediscovering the "power of proximity," the President and CEO of Veolia warned.

For this "common destiny" is indeed quite valuable. Enable local economic clusters to "reach critical size and sufficient levels of specialization to be competitive enough to gain a foothold in globalization" for example, or "implement pragmatic inventive collaborations to imagine, design and test new offers".

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To achieve this "shared success of territories and businesses" 15 proposals were prepared by the Enterprise Institute. And Antoine Frérot has become its designated spokesman.

Among the proposals, a renewal of the local elected representatives' mission: "It is essential that beyond their traditional role as planners, they must also become catalysts for structured territorial projects centered on economic priorities, oriented towards conquering markets", he argued.

As for businesses, they must pursue "a territorial policy" by putting in play "all the competitive means present in their territories". Antoine Frérot imagines as well "establishing integrated offerings or strategic alliances enhancing the firepower of French firms, laying down the groundwork for "hunting in packs" internationally".