In accordance with the agreement between South of France Region and San Diego, South Region Alliance and the French American Chamber of Commerce brought 10 businesses and 9 officials from France to San Diego from 3 specific industries: life science, maritime and clean tech. From November 5th to the 9th 2018, both companies and officials attended networking events, with the support of BIOCOM, The Maritime Alliance and CleanTech San Diego, as well as B-to-B meetings set up for them.

Here is what we achieved:


A City opening its doors: San Diego Business Ecosystem

In the morning, Gilles Bonkoski, Executive Director of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, as well as Bernard Deflesselles, European Deputy and President of the South Region Alliance, and Claude Benchimol, president of the board, presented the trade mission. Later, Christophe Fremont (former CEO of a French-American company, Solar Gard), Olivier Toury (CEO of Neuroservice) and Marco Thompson (Co-Founder at EvoNexus) talked to the group about entrepreneurship. Those talks were followed by presentations from San Diego biggest clusters’ CEO, Joe Panetta (Biocom), Greg Murphy (The Maritime Alliance) and Jason Anderson (CleanTech San Diego).


In the afternoon, the entire delegation gathered at Petco Stadium where they were welcomed by city officials. Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Director of Economic Development Erik Caldwell, European Deputy Bernard Deflesselles, French consul in Los Angeles Christophe Lemoine and Executive Director Gilles Bonkoski, explained how this trade mission is strengthening relations between the South of France region and San Diego.

The 10 companies and 9 officials from France, then had the opportunity to make their pitch in front of the Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the city representatives, presenting their companies, ongoing projects, as well as future goals and initiatives within San Diego.

Following this “pitch session” in front of Mayor Kevin Faulconer and city officials, the French delegation set out on an Innovation Walking Tour steered by a city representative, to show the companies and officials the innovative aspects and improvements of the downtown neighborhood. This tour included visits to Petco Stadium, Sempra Energy and the Mission Brewery as well. The event Neuroscience: Academia meets Industry at the Westgate Hotel closed the first day of the California Business Starter.

California Business Starter: experts, visits and B-to-B meetings

On Tuesday, French officials and companies had the opportunity to meet local experts such as corporate and immigration law, CPA, real estate brokerage, investments, insurance and banking. They also visited JLabs, premier life science incubator in the San Diego area, and Envision Solar, leading renewable energy, media and branding, and EV charging product company. This second day ended with B-to-B meetings and BIOCOM’s 3rd Annual Big Data Summit.

On the third day, some companies went to Cleantech San Diego’s event to network and explore funding options. Several companies as well as officials, attended a meeting with representatives from the Port of San Diego. Similar problematics were found between the Port of San Diego and several French organizations, and an agreement between Port of San Diego and Port of Toulon will be discussed further.


On Thursday, some companies and officials went to the ESNA show in Pasadena while others attended Blue Tech Week and other scheduled B-to-B meetings. For some of the companies and officials, a business day was organized in Tijuana to meet with the life science cluster, as well as Tijuana EDC.

Friday morning was the last step of the California Business Starter. Companies and officials went to EvoNexus in San Diego where Marco Thompson, Co-Founder of EvoNexus, led a tour of their incubator. Each company had the opportunity to pitch in front of a panel of funding experts, who gave their feedback on how to improve the enterprises’ strategic development in the US.


Encouraged by this great achievement, we are organizing an equivalent trade mission to the South of France early 2019.​

If you would like to receive additional information about this upcoming France Business Starter, contact us below!