The French Riviera has built its growth and its industrial reputation over the past 30 years on a strong substrate of companies belonging to the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector. This potential is concentrated in the Sophia Antipolis Science and Technology Park, the largest park of its kind in Europe and a world reference in terms of ICT skills.

The French Riviera Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a stakeholder and operator committed to developing and promoting the French Riviera and its companies, oversees the Nice / Cotê d’Azur entrepreneurship ecosystem which is based in Sophia Antipolis, Nice EcoVallée and Cannes.

  • Sophia Antipolis: The Information Technologies sector is the core of expertise in Sophia Antipolis. It accounts for 265 companies and 12,800 jobs in Information technologies (Microelectronics, software, telecom, networks, multimedia, e commerce, web). SMEs and start-ups stand side by side with world leaders such as Amadeus, Cisco Systems, Hewlett, etc. The Sophia Antipolis “Business Pole” brings together a start-up incubator and coworking space close to the CCI Nice Côte d’Azur teams and business association offices, competitiveness clusters, and shared innovation platforms.
  • Nice Eco-Vallée: many Mobile Near-Field Communication experiments are currently underway across the area, spearheaded by world leaders (Cisco, IBM, Orange, ErDF, etc.) around the concept of the smart city, as well as e-health and silver economy.
  • Cannes: Cannes Bastide Rouge Technopole is developing a business incubator called “CréaCannes” dedicated to the creative sectors (design graphics media, advertising, image banks, design, and video games) and to medical and scientific imaging; and a business center with CCI Nice Côte d’Azur teams and a Laboratory for Digital Images. Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis has, for several years now, been working towards reconquering the industrial sector with Eco-Valley, the National Interest Project centred on eco-industries, and with the reorganization of its territory as a “smart city” to encourage the development of digital technology and related activities. As for the City of Cannes, now part of the Pays de Lérins Urban Community, it is also supporting ICT with its aim to develop a digital image cluster.


Key figures in the digital sector

Economic weight
  • 1545 businesses in 2013 representing 21,370 jobs
  • 4070 million in revenue
  • 105 institutions with foreign capital (7,365 employees) in the ICT sector
Economic Dynamism
  • 7% growth in revenue in 2013
  • 6% new businesses in 2013
  • 3.5% growth in employment in 2013. More than 9000 jobs created since 2000
Entrepreneurial drive
  • 945 businesses created in 5 years (2009-2013)
  • 18 million BPI funds raised on 96 projects over 3 years (2011-2013)
  • 28 million venture capital funds identified since 2010
  • 151 million in venture capital and growth capital since 2010
  • 43 international exhibitions and conferences
  • 40 local events or cycles of local events (200 to 300 days / year)
  • 17 events and start-up support venues: 6 business accelerators (with co-working space), 3 co-working spaces, 4 incubators, 4 fablabs (1 with co-working space). > 5 clusters, 1 regional cluster, many professional associations
  • 17 iconic entrepreneurs
  • More than 150 public and private partners in the acceleration chain and its ecosystem
  • 4 business accelerators (2 private and 2 public or mixed)
  • 7 private or mixed acceleration programme projects involving French Tech Côte d’Azur
  • 20 international and 45 national awards and distinctions in 5 years
  • 2500 ICT R&D jobs created since 2000
  • 100% of the 11 foreign ICT establishments set up in 2013 include R&D
  • 3 sectors: telecommunications, microelectronics, software engineering
  • 7 key digital control technologies: microelectronics, wireless network and broadband technologies, 3D image & video technologies, embedded software and processors, security, smart devices, and complex information systems
  • 5 strategic business units (SBU): e-learning, e-health, e-environment, e-energy & smart grids, e-tourism & mobility

Source: un territoire puissance 4 : french tech Côte d’Azur, 2014

Sophia Antipolis in a nutshell

1350 companies representing 34,400 jobs:

  • Information technologies: 300 companies and 15,000 jobs (Electronics, software, telecom, networks, multimedia, e-commerce, web).
  • Research, Education and training: 60 institutions and 4000 jobs.
  • Health sciences and chemicals: 45 companies and 2600 jobs (Pharmaceuticals, dermatology, biotechnology, medical imaging).
  • Environment and energy saving: 23 companies, 350 jobs (Earth observation, simulation, from solar energy to new materials).


170 foreign-owned companies.

63 nationalities represented among employees.

4500 researchers and 5500 students.

It gathers top-level organisations:

  • Higher education establishments: Eurecom Institute, Polytech’Nice, SKEMA, etc.
  • Standardisation institutes: W3C, ETSI.
  • Competitiveness clusters Solutions Communicantes Sécurisées, Pégase, etc.
  • Research institutes: INRIA, CNRS, and more.

Source: Symisa

Europe’s leading science and Technology Park Sophia Antipolis was founded in 1969 by Senator Pierre Laffitte, and was based on a strong concept: cross-fertilisation between researchers, professors and companies. Having become a world reference in terms of innovation, this brilliant ecosystem resonates through two main centres:

  • The Sophia Antipolis Business Hub, is home to the Secured Communicating Solutions and Pégase competitiveness clusters, the Telecom Valley association, the TelecomParis Tech and PACA Est incubators, the Regional Innovation and Internationalisation Agency (Agence Régionale d’Innovation et d’Internationalisation), a business incubator for around twenty start-ups, a co-working space, the 4G platform Com4Innov and the offices of the CCI. In 2014, it was accredited as a “Business Innovation Center” by the European Business Network.
  • SophiaTech: the new campus dedicated to ICT was opened in 2012. In addition to a strong academic centre (Nice Sophia Antipolis University/Polytech Nice Sophia, Eurecom/Telecom ParisTech, INRIA, CNRS, INRA), able to accommodate 3,000 students and 800 research professors, it is home to SATT Sud Est, the head office of the KIC ICT Labs, the CIM PACA collaborative platform and the new “SoLab” FabLab dedicated to the Internet of Things.


Areas of excellence in Sophia Antipolis

For over 40 years, Sophia Antipolis has been attracting industry leaders, engineers and researchers from around the globe. Every year, 800 new jobs on average are created in the science and technology park, which has led it to become the ideal site for setting up R&D or high tech businesses. The Information Technologies sector accounts for 20% of companies and 42% of jobs, thus making up the core of expertise in Sophia Antipolis, with relevant speciality areas spilling over into the areas of health, chemicals, biosciences and environmental sciences.

Whatever the sector, SMEs and start-ups stand side by side with world leaders such as Amadeus, Cisco Systems, Dassault Systems, Orange, Hewlett, Nvidia, Intel, Symantec, Air France, American Express, Toyota, Samsung, Huawei.

From information technologies to greentech, as well as e-tourism and the silver economy, the Cote d’Azur has established itself as the ultimate destination for companies who invest in the key areas of R&D, shared services and central functions. Supported by a world renowned ICT cluster, innovation flows through the sectors of excellence on the Cote d’Azur, all positioned on tomorrow’s markets.

Local partner

Nice Côte d’Azur CCI at the heart of Sophia Antipolis, Nice, Côte d’Azur CCI has set up an office within the technology park to improve its visibility and be closer to the companies it serves. In close consultation with the Sophia Antipolis Agglomeration Community which will establish some of its offices and (re)locate some of its incubators into the same building, from this autumn, the Nice Côte d’Azur CCI will offer enhanced services to companies within the brand new Sophia Antipolis "Business Centre". The 600 m² assigned to the Nice Côte d’Azur CCI will be used to accommodate clusters dealing with companies' international development (Entreprises à l’international) and innovation and business intelligence (Innovation & Intelligence économique).

Companies will also benefit from a single reception desk, services dedicated to foreign employees (residence permits, etc.) and a hospitality desk. A service for young companies will be useful in monitoring them during this critical phase in their development. A whole range of company issues will also be covered on site, by the experts of the Nice Côte d’Azur CCI during weekly programmes. The objective is to present a range of functions or topics and how they interact, for example a day dedicated to financing, another to commercial development or a week dedicated to business creation.

Nice Côte d’Azur CCI offers a range of highly operational, practical and useful services within the technology park. The key business fields specific to Sophia Antipolis that will be represented include international development, innovation, business intelligence, young companies, etc. The process of organising the community of companies will be improved by the presence of partners, the Sophia Antipolis Agglomeration Community, incubators, business clubs and associations.

Person in charge

Jean-Michel, ENEE, Responsable Filière Numérique, ICT Sector Manager,