Among all business creators supported by Agropole during the last 30 years, the case of Yann Maus does reflect at best, the diversity of resources and supports provided by the Technopole.
When Agropole was created in 1989, with his professional cooking certificate in hand, Yann Maus was one of the very first entrepreneurs to enter the incubator with a project of multi-portion ready meals for sale in mass distribution. After the incubation period, he decided to build the first factory plant on the Technopole in Estillac. It will then be enlarged several times following an incremental success and will be sold to a big name of the French food industry.
Today, to develop a new business, Yann MAUS acquire the SAVIEL plant, again located at the Agropole, from the AGROMOUSQUETAIRES group which had announced the closure of this meat processing plant, due to industrial restructuring.
In the same spirit, founders of Sud'n'sol, Cite Gourmande or most recently Ultra Premium Direct, grew developed staffing level and created value within the geographical scope of Agropole.
But what is it that makes the Agropole technopole so attractive and which increases the concentration of large food manufacturers in its territory?
Agropole capitalizes on its historical assets, the complementarity of tools and the uniqueness of the place.
- A technological resource center, Agrotec, which supports innovation, 'from idea to consumer' (technological platform, physico-chemical analysis laboratory and sensory analysis laboratory)
- A business incubator and incubator (offices, modular industrial production units and personalized support for the business creator)
- A training center, Sud Management, which offers a global offer of continuing education, higher education and consulting.
- An allotment platform to complete the support system for production companies.
The sustainability rate for young companies at three years is 83% (compared to 75% at the national level) and 71% at five years, against only 60% at the national level.
AGROTEC is the AGROPOLE multi-industry agrifood Technological Resource Centre. AGROTEC assists agrifood firms, project leaders and distributors, in developing their businesses. The fully-equipped AGROTEC technology facility may be rented by entrepreneurs who wish to produce samples and pre-production runs for test marketing without having to invest in equipment. The sensory testing laboratory offers consumer and expert panels for consumer testing and defining sensory profiles. Sensory analysis is a reliable, scientific measuring tool, independent of both consumer preferences and the organoleptic characteristics of the product.
At the end of 2020, AGROPOLE represented 110 companies and over 2600 jobs making of Agropole one of the largest employers in the region, and the 34 production companies located on the Technopole have a permanent need for employees. In June 2021, Agropole will organise its 4th recruitment edition gathering in a same place all candidates and recruiters and turning this job fair into an optimum event for both parties by mobilising upstream a maximum number of candidates according to their competencies. From the line operator to the quality manager, from the lawyer to the plant manager, from the engineer to the production agent, from the graphic designer to the technician … the offers are rich, the typology of companies varied; small or large, Agropole companies need employees to develop and support their growth. The number of positions offered is high and might push Agropole to recruit far beyond the Lot et Garonne Department.
Half-way between the city and the country
In the past a lot of young people were leaving the countryside to find a job in the city. Today the trend is somewhat reversed and semi-rural cities of an intermediate size offering a better quality of life combined with a lower price of real estate are attracting more and more candidates from South West French metropoles such as Toulouse and Bordeaux. The current health crisis is a component that made some city dwellers to rethink their way of life and to migrate to this area, bringing with them their dreams, their ambitions, and their business projects, thereby feeding the pipeline of Agropole’s future incubatees.
Specialised technical training
Aware that the agri-food sector requires very technical equipment and very specific skills, Agropole has teamed up with IFRIA (training organization for agri-food industry) to launch next year a HNC (Higher National Technical Certificate) “Systems Maintenance” training course. Indeed, it is one of the weaknesses of this industry which is struggling to recruit in this essential branch. This has led the CEOs and managers of Agropole to provide their own answer and solution to the problem. Seven companies of the technopole will partner with Agrotec and IFRIA. The two-year training foresees 60% of time placement in the company
'These apprentices are full-fledged employees, and this specialised course is meant to last over time and can open the door to other professions. It's about giving these young people a broader perspective than just being a maintenance technician', says Sylvain Pineau , General Director of Agropole.
For the established companies, this technical training responds to a double stake, that of growth and the technical requirements that their production requires.
Concours National Agropole
The Agropole Technopole has various levers that are made available to the incubatees. One of them is the Concours National Agropole which is organised every year since 1994. This competition is targeted at innovative agri-food business creation projects and young innovative agri-food companies under 3 years old. Among the past graduates (winners), some famous French agri-food success stories : Cité Gourmande (1998), Ynsects (2012), Le Petit Béret (2016) or Hari&co (2014).
A jury made of big names from the industry such as Fleury-Michon, Bonduelle or Savencia as well as Innocent, Barilla or Groupe Le Duff, selects the finalists who are awarded a sum of 10 000 € among other benefits. Deadline for submission of candidatures for this year: 15 june 2021.