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Poitou-Charentes business help

Support group is being set up in the Poitou-Charentes to help English-speakers in the region share work and advice

A BUSINESS support group is being set up in the Poitou-Charentes to help English-speakers in the region share work and advice.

Jason Roberts, a lifestyle management consultant and personal trainer who lives in the Deux-Sèvres, decided to launch the initiative because of the feast-or-famine nature of running a business.

“I have heard that there are a lot of English families and businesses packing up and going back to the UK, but there are also businesses with so much work on that they are turning work down. I thought something has got to be done here,” Mr Roberts said.

He has spent the past six months recruiting a support team of English-speaking marketing and financial experts – local businesspeople who volunteer their time to chair meetings and offer advice to members.

It is hoped the group will fully launch in the spring and will hold a monthly meeting in each of the four departments of Poitou-Charentes, in an attempt to reduce the travelling distance for members.

Any officially registered business – new or established, English or French – is welcome to join for free and attend meetings to talk about any issues they have and recruit extra help from the local business community.

Minutes from the meetings will be posted on the group’s website, allowing members from neighbouring departments to pass jobs round at speed and see what is happening in other branches.

The support group has registered as an association and has meetings set up with the Deux-Sèvres departmental council and various government bodies to discuss marketing and funding.

Mr Roberts says he is starting to get membership requests from others departments, including the Dordogne: “If it goes well, I might launch in other areas.

“If the group needs funding we will charge a small membership fee, just to get money to buy stationery and advertise the group.”

The network is primarily for English-speakers, but French businesses are welcome to join.

The website will be translated into French to reach out to more people in the area. See www.poitoucharentebusinessgroup.org to find out more, to join as a member or to volunteer as an advisor.

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