It is one of the highlights of the Silicon Valley. Every year, in the spring, the French community gathers for the gala dinner of the French-American Business Awards (Faba), during which the most prominent French entrepreneurs are honored. “This year, the choice of winners was particularly difficult, notes Anne-Emmanuelle de Boysson, executive director of the Franco-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry of San Francisco, organizer of these 7th Faba, on May 19, back after two years of absence, health crisis obliges. “The proof that this hexagonal presence is always as rich”, she continues.
But the 2022 winners come a long way. A band of survivors of an end-of-the-world atmosphere. “At the height of the pandemic, San Francisco was a bit Mad Max after the Apocalypse,” says Frédéric Plais, CEO of Platform.sh, which helps companies develop cloud computing solutions. Empty streets, deserted sidewalks, an icy silence: the metamorphosis of the city, so overflowing with activity, especially in its economic and financial heart, was total. San Francisco and Silicon Valley have regained color, but the contrast with the world before remains striking. Virtually no more traffic jams, hundreds of convenience stores closed, office building occupancy at its lowest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. And most restaurants closed, at least for lunch.
In Palo Alto, the historic center of Silicon Valley, the shock is just as disturbing: the city, and its neighbors, give the impression that the region is now slowing down and that it has been emptied of a good part of its inhabitants. “We must not stop at appearances, tempers Frédéric Plais. As far as we are concerned, growth has not slowed down over the past two years and we continue to recruit.”
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Silicon Valley and its Frenchies are reconfiguring – Challenges
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