Here's a concept: the French government wants to make the French Riviera into a high-tech center. As this article in the Post says, you don't usually put the French government and high-tech entrepreneurship together.
The notion of a notoriously bureaucratic French government stage-managing innovations in the high-tech sector -- typically known for fierce competition and a libertarian ethos -- seems paradoxical. But in France, business remains a risk-averse activity in which industry looks to the government for succor. Proponents say this is precisely what makes the initiative necessary: France has proven skilled at research but weak at transforming ideas into money -- a step requiring government orchestration.
Seems that the Riviera is something like Palo Alto with companies nourished by a big national research institute. There are about 100 companies and 45,000 employees there. So perhaps there is some hope but probably not much:
Some worry that projects may attract funding not on the basis of what is best but rather most politically expedient, with projects from influential companies having the best shot at the government's cash.
"Every project has to be approved by the government," said Sen. Pierre Laffitte, founder of the Sophia Antipolis research park. "They should not have done it this way."
But already, say those involved, the initiative has produced tangible benefits: In a country gripped by economic malaise, a bit of vibrancy has been injected into the conversation.