France’s CCIs are there to help
Businesses, of all sizes and all sectors, can get advice on setting up, general running, trouble-shooting and even how to shut down from the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (CCI).
There are 126 CCIs in France, offering different specialities and training courses, depending on the needs of their region. See a full list at tinyurl.com/s2rcqh6.
CCI business expert Nathalie Carré said: “Our main purpose is to guide entrepreneurs and you can ask for a personal session with an adviser.
“Prices vary but usually the first contact is free, and often enough, and after that we look to find the cheapest way to help.”
Training courses are wide ranging from how to use social media and advertising to accounting, tax, or languages. Prices vary.
There is a nationwide fixed €70 fee for help to set up and register a new business and Mrs Carré said opting for the CCI to do this, rather than you doing it independently, means all required formalities are done.
There is also support for people wanting to set up a business and a website with information at business-builder.cci.fr.
Some CCIs give help in English but if not, and you need this, you can contact the Franco-British network, which has links with the Dordogne CCI but operates nationwide.
Its President Roger Haigh said it is always best to seek advice when setting up a business: “Most people who come to us don’t have a business plan, but this can lead to difficulties because the system in France is very different. Many people do not realise there are likely to be higher charges than in the UK. We will help you set up and give specialist advice.”
There is an introductory membership fee of €49, which lasts until the end of 2020, and the first hour of consultation is free.
After that, there are a range of fees for specialist help.
Support is also available from the Franco British Chamber (francobritishchamber.com), based in Paris, which is the oldest international chamber of commerce in France and Europe, founded in 1873.
General Manager Catherine Le Yaouanc says they will help set up and develop a business, provide seminars on different subjects, give language and intercultural coaching and have a support service, Business Connect for firms to develop their cross-Channel activities.
She says members become part of an ecosystem of 2,000 companies, have access to experts in different fields and are kept informed on how to prepare for the post-Brexit period.