CHAIN 2 – 3rd Business Convention a Success!

Posted on 08/11/2012

CHAIN 2

As part of the Channel Innovation Network project (Chain), 30 SMEs from Brittany, Normandy and the UK met their counterparts at SIAL, OPTO and the British Embassy in Paris.

A third business convention organised by CHAIN2 partners was held on October 23rd and 24th 2012 in Paris. This convention was planned for the same time as two major trade shows in Paris, SIAL (the World’s no. 1 food exhibition) and OPTO / IP Convergence.

Business meetings during SIAL allowed businesses from the South of England working with the Kent Science Park and The Design Programme to meet companies from Brittany and Normandy.

At OPTO a networking breakfast was held on the Bretagne Photonics Booth, CHAIN partners and UK companies from the project discovered the optical skills and know-how available in Brittany and tied new links with local companies.

To reinforce these B2B meetings, a networking cocktail reception was organised by Chain2 partners at the British Embassy in Paris. It was attended by over 50 people involved in the project and enabled businesses to deepen their relationship and interact with experts in the food market from UKTI (UK Trade & Investment). Many informal discussions focused on the development of innovative food products, product positioning and branding, export markets, identifying new importers and distributors.

Next step
Exchanges between Breton, Norman and British companies and partners will continue, the next step is a visit by a delegation of French companies to Tech City, a media and technology hub cluster in East London, next spring.

What attendees said:
“The CHAIN business convention has allowed us to better understand the English market.” Says Leo Courtes of Biscuiterie de Bretagne (better known under the brand La Craquanterie). “We talked with Simon Reed, a cider producer in Canterbury, and he helped us to understand how to position our Breton biscuits for the English market, the pricing policy depending on the type of shop; fine food or retail. And on our side, we were able to tell Simon Reed that French cider consumers buy cider in a bottle for home consumption. They never drink it on tap in bars and cafés. It’s all about positioning and product adaptation for export.”
For Leo Courtes, more discussions are in the air. He is planning a study trip at the Technological College of Wilshire, UK, where he knows he will be meeting up with Graham Jones of Logistics Planning, a UK company, located close to the College who he met during the CHAIN convention.

“I recently had an enjoyable and productive visit to the SIAL exhibition in Paris organised by the Design Programme through the CHAIN Project.” Said Laurel Miller of AM Associates. “On the trip I was in the company of other like minded UK businesses some of which I already knew and some who I met on the trip.

“The organised drinks reception at the British Embassy was a wonderful setting for some lively and fruitful Pan–European networking and I made many exciting contacts at the event. The SIAL exhibition itself – although vast was a visual feast crammed with potential new clients and exciting food concepts.
All in all I found the experience opened my eyes to the potential for gaining European Business – I am currently following up with many of the businesses that I met and I would urge other small business owners to grab any further opportunities that may arise from these activities.”

CHAIN 2 is a project that is part of the European program Interreg IV A France (Channel)-England (http://www.interreg4a-manche.eu/).