To mark the centenary of Franco-American relations, and by the initiative of the navigator Damien Grimont, the actors of the Pays de la Loire organised The Bridge 2017. This event was supported by the Region and was hinged on several highlights, including a roaming think tank that embarked entrepreneurs for the Atlantic.
For a week, 1,000 executives from over 160 companies lived together on a prestigious steamer, the Queen Mary II … without telephone or internet! During the invitational “Centenary Seminar”, organised as part of the The Bridge event, professionals held multiple exchanges including business meetings and conferences. 70 experts and 50 facilitators were also gathered for a particularly rich program of 12 hours per day covering various topics, in particular concerning innovation and management:
NBIC and technology: Social networks, Uberisation, Artificial Intelligence, Dematerialisation, Connected objects etc.
Relationship to oneself and to others: Performance, Teaching, Management, Conflict, Hierarchy etc.
Environment: Resources, Energy, Climate, Health, Ecology etc.
Globalisation and geopolitics: Europe, Oil, Interest Rates, Financialisation, Terrorism etc.
Formation of a new think tank
The “club 100” who participated in this unusual journey were mostly made up of companies from Brittany and the Pays de la Loire, 80% of which were small to medium-sized companies and 15% were large companies. Via a competition organised by The Atlanpole cluster, some twenty start-ups also embarked to have the opportunity to forge privileged relationships with local decision-makers.
This unprecedented experience, highly appreciated by professionals, was the launch a collective movement which will continue in the autumn with another large event in Nantes to gather all the participants once again.
An eye on the entrepreneurs of tomorrow
Thanks to the support of the Pays de la Loire Region, The Bridge was also an opportunity to launch actions aimed at the more than 28,800 apprentices in the region. 35 of them embarked on the Queen Mary II for 24 hours. Alongside the students, future sportsmen and young entrepreneurs, these “ambassadors of learning” crossed the English Channel. Saint-Nazaire also hosted a learning village, which included training organisations as well as companies seeking young professionals.
A Bridge to the US Economy
The Bridge was the opportunity to bring together Pays de la Loire companies interested in a market development between the Pays de la Loire and the United States. This movement should grow considerably with the appointment of a new Special Envoy representing the Pays de la Loire in Chicago.