Leading Franco-British business

 By Catherine le Yaouanc, General Manager of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI)


Founded in 1873, the Franco-British Chamber is proud of its long and illustrious history. As the oldest British chamber of commerce in Europe, and the oldest ‘foreign’ chamber of commerce in France, it has proved itself to be a versatile and dynamic organisation, surviving two World Wars, the Great Depression and the recent global economic crisis.


Today, the Chamber resides in the 2nd arrondissement, in the quartier of Paris where its journey first began 142 years ago. It boasts a burgeoning membership of over 800 businesses and continues to strengthen cross-Channel commerce through events, networking opportunities, training and various online initiatives.


The common link is the desire to promote and sustain the Franco-British business community. From the top executives of British companies in France and the top executives of French companies investing in the UK (e.g. Barclays, BP, Eurostar), for whom the benefits include invitations to Ambassador Briefings and Cercle Economique exchanges, to the established companies and institutions simply wishing to develop their business activity (e.g. British Council, The Fry Group, Battersea Power Station), the FBCCI’s pool of membership is varied and wide-ranging.

FBCCI Jaguar event

Promoting and sustaining the Franco-British business community


Accountancy, finance, law, education, telecommunications, materials science and gastronomy are all listed in the Chamber’s Franco-British trade directory. All this is offset by the support and partnership of UKTI France with whom the Chamber shares close ties and co-organises events at the British Embassy (Ambassador Briefings, International Women’s Conference, Summer Garden Party and Rentrée Reception). The Chamber often works in conjunction with its members to produce events, and recent sponsors include HSBC, Jaguar Land Rover and BT.


FBCCI Garden Party

FBCCI Summer Garden Party


Despite being based in Paris and playing a visible role on the capital’s corporate circuit, the Franco-British Chamber has delegations across France, notably in Toulouse and the Dordogne, as well as a presence in Monaco. A new addition to the Chamber’s online profile in 2014/15 was the creation of the F.R.O.G (Foreign Residents Organisational Guide) regional guide, evidence of the Chamber’s wider work across these regions. A new form of ‘entente cordiale’, F.R.O.G. was created to help British businesses set up in Corrèze and negotiate the administrative hurdles of the region. In addition to general advice concerning healthcare and insurance, the digital, English-language leaflet contains information relating to tax, employment regulations and property. 


Buoyant markets in France currently include the aviation industry, cosmetics, multimedia and imaging, logistics and transport, healthcare and life sciences, financial services and ICT. Obviously, the advantages of France remain its food processing, luxury and tourist industries, as well as its creative sector.


Further, France has many strengths:

       It offers efficient and effective infrastructure, easy access to external markets and a prime location conducive to logistics and transport activities due to a central geographical position in Europe.

       A renowned education system and a productive workforce. French engineers are in fact among the most sought after in the world along with their German counterparts.  France is also recognised as a breeding ground for talent by foreign companies established in France.

       Simplified bureaucratic reforms to enhance working and living conditions in France. Under the guise of the law of economic modernisation, the government has effectively simplified certain procedures, including the creation of a portal (www.guichet-entreprises.fr) to allow businesses to register themselves online. 


Entrepreneurs and owner-managed businesses are entitled to make use of the Chamber’s SME and Start-up Business Club, an exchange platform for small and medium-sized firms (typically with less than 49 staff members) which are setting up, or have started to set up, their business in France and/or the UK. The Chamber is also pleased to announce a partnership with the Language Network which involves the provision of expert English language teaching to French professionals.


Finally, the Chamber has embraced online communication in order to remain a key player in corporate circles and broaden its visibility. The Chamber tries to ensure that the promotion of its online brand reflects its active presence on the events circuit. In addition to a blog ‘The Channel’, social media has proved to be an excellent tool in the evolution of its digital identity. Accordingly, the FBCCI brand enjoys a prominent presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Updates are frequent and the Chamber is able to adapt its profile to fit with the requisite social network.


Such is the popularity of the Chamber’s digital estate that it was awarded the Excellence in Digital Communications Award at the recent COBCOE Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony 2015.


For more information, please contact: information@francobritishchamber.com  



FBCCI logo

Window into Europe