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Speed-dating unpublished between ambassadors and entrepreneurs in Paris

A gong sounding every 15 minutes and 169 ambassadors in the face of hundreds of entrepreneurs: the success was at the rendezvous yesterday, August 26 for the fi

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Speed-dating unpublished between ambassadors and entrepreneurs in Paris

A gong sounding every 15 minutes and 169 ambassadors in the face of hundreds of entrepreneurs: the success was at the rendezvous yesterday, August 26 for the first speed-dating is designed to help SMES and ETI French to embark on the adventure of exporting.

Split into three large halls of the ministry of foreign Affairs, in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, 169 ambassadors of France abroad, gathered on the occasion of the "Week of the ambassadors", have seen all the after-noon at their table representatives of companies from sectors as diverse as agri-food, digital technology, tourism or the environment. In total, 1.700 appointment of a quarter of an hour were scheduled. The stated goal of this initiative: to allow a first contact between the actors that are unaware of it. "It is interesting to meet SMES and ETI (firms of intermediate size), which have less access to the authorities", says Fabien Pénone, ambassador of France in South Korea. "Large companies have services, they have the means, while for SMES and ETI, it is less easy. However, it is not necessary to have a great deal of time for a first contact," he adds. For the diplomat, the interest of these fifteen minutes on the clock is to give to companies who want to begin in a country "of the items on the general context in which they will evolve and see that they can meet the concrete" on-the-spot. The folders will then be taken in hand by the services of the embassy.

"The goal is, a bit like rugby, to create an opening between an SME and the market", explains his side Christophe Lecourtier, ambassador of France in Australia. "This is a unique opportunity to meet with ambassadors present in the world, welcomes to its share Claude Carniel, director of the house of Pierre Oteiza, a producer of cured meats basque of sixty employees which is already making 15% of its turnover to export. Ca would have been more difficult if I had to do this with my small bag and my suitcase," acknowledges the head of the company, which has four appointments on his calendar.

>> also read: Ranking: the top 100 SMES and ETI French international in 2015

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Better identification of opportunities

Philippe Vigneau, director of business development at Transatel, a company with fewer than 200 employees that sells a SIM card universal, came in the hope of seeing the diplomats to facilitate his contacts in the countries where the company seeks to sign agreements : "In industries as sharp and technical as ours, it is very difficult to have a promoter other than ourselves. We need of the relationship, more that of someone who sells to our place." For his part, Eric Beltrando, founder of Bilog, a company specialized in software engineering, employing 45 people in total, will confess that the idea to contact the embassies he had not "come to mind" before. "This is a huge gain of time and energy: in the space of a few hours, we can do a tour of the country that may be of interest to us" in terms of export, " he said, deeming it important to have "the return of people on the ground for many years". The mid-term review of its interviews, the entrepreneur, who seeks to market a production management software, sees it a little more clear about its export prospects: "For Cuba, the conclusion is that there is still a little early. On the other hand, in Djibouti, there are things to see", he says. The ambassador in Benin, Aline Kuster-Menage, has also showered his hopes of an opening to this small sub-saharan African countries more oriented towards commerce and manufacturing, advising him to focus on Ethiopia, in the middle phase of industrialization. Advice from a diplomat to his business strategy at the international, this is not current...

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