Economic appeal: The Eurometropolis, region of opportunities

Brussels, London and Paris:  a “golden triangle”  of European capitals, at the centre of which lies the Eurometropolis – a 3,629 km² multilingual and multicultural region in the heart of the European megalopolis.  Historically, this region has always been one of the economic drivers of the Old Continent.  It is in constant evolution and has always been able to adapt and reinvent itself; today, it is a particularly appealing region that is conducive to the creation and development of enterprises:  in 2013 it welcomed almost 15,000 new companies.

The Eurometropolis, region of economic opportunities

Investineurometropolis, a portal site destined to increase the appeal of the region
The Eurometropolis has also contributed to the efforts made to emphasise this economic strength and increase the visibility of the cross-border region.   In January the portal site was launched. The purpose of this site is to attract potential (mainly foreign) investors and to highlight the strengths of the Eurometropolitan region.  It features maps providing an overview of the centres of excellence, innovation clusters, research centres or places of interest for business tourism (cf. above).  The platform also provides the contact information of several economic partners and gives an indication of possibilities in the field of services.  The long-term ambition is to increase the visibility of the Eurometropolis and to raise it to the level of the major European and international metropolises.

The cross-border context: an opportunity
KPMG, a global auditing and financial consultancy firm, is one of the enterprises that decided to establish branch offices in the region.  In addition to the Lille, Roubaix and Armentières offices, the company has decided to open a branch office at Kortrijk (KPMG Eurometropool). This was a natural decision for Luc Heynderickx, partner, and Sylvie Thas, manager of the Kortrijk office:  “Kortrijk is a flourishing city with a very open attitude towards the cross-border context.    And because of its proximity to Lille, it’s the ideal place to offer bipartite services.” Thanks to the advice and the expert knowledge of a French-Belgian team, the company offers its clients an innovating bilateral analysis.   “This kind of cross-border cooperation is unique”, says Tillo Mestdagh, lawyer at the K-Law law firm and partner of KPMG Eurometropolis.  “The cooperation of experts from the three subregions constitutes a true added value for enterprises.”  We see the same message in the first newsletter of KPMG Eurometropool, in which the added value of a cross-border analysis is outlined:

“A strong political commitment”
However, large businesses are not the only ones that want to benefit from the region's dynamic economic activity. There are also opportunities for SMEs, says Xavier Bourgois, general manager of Optimus Finance. This Belgian citizen, who has his place of residence in the south of France, recently opened a branch of his financial management and consultancy agency in the Eurometropolis.  He specifically focuses on enterprises established on the Mediterranean coast that are active in the high-tech and innovation sectors.  His goal is to build bridges between the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and the Eurometropolis, which features many centres of excellence such as EuraTechnologies. “Enterprises can only benefit from taking an interest in the French-Belgian cross-border region: it is a dynamic region, it offers a great deal in the field of mobility and is experiencing a considerable economic growth”, explains Xavier Bourgois.  He also stresses the strong political commitment to facilitate the establishment of companies in the region.  Although his activities mainly focus on the SMEs of the PACA region, he has the intention to extend his geographic field of action in the future.  According to him, “the Eurometropolis offers many opportunities and a huge growth potential”.

*©Euro 3, Chiffres clés/ Kerncijfers Eurométropole Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai, January 2015