A post-industrial strategy
For the past year, the renovated wasteland has been home to the largest private start-up incubator in the Grand-Est. ” We named it KMØ in reference to the first international railway line that left from here in 1841 “, explains Patrick Rein. One year after its inauguration, the three-story building is fully booked : 42 companies, three training centers including the Cnam, 370 students and 70 events organized. The focus is on the digitalization of the industry.
Not bad for a city in search of a new post-industrial economic strategy. But Patrick Rein defends himself from this political intention. For nearly twenty years, he has worked to make visible a digital ecosystem that was not visible. In the early 2000s, as head of Activis, a start-up specializing in
referencing on the Internet, he was trying to convince a Swiss prospect that Alsace was teeming with computer experts. The arguments were missing.
” One Sunday, I listed all the local computer companies in the phone book. I found out there were more than a hundred of us ,” he recalls. Patrick Rein contacted all of these companies and offered them the opportunity to network. Jean-Marie Bockel, the former mayor of Mulhouse, helped to structure the process by providing resources, a secretariat and offices. The Rhenatic consortium was born. It has grown to 120 members and among its achievements, the most concrete was the establishment by the University of Haute-Alsace of a degree in Internet marketing.