Last Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th March the Chamber of commerce and Industry (CCI) of Lyon at the Lyon Stock Exchange held its yearly International Forum, the first business network in the Rhône-Alpes region for companies and entrepreneurs to help boost foreign investment in France and encourage French business ventures abroad.
In an effort to satisfy companies’ growing interest in giving their business an international dimension, the CCI Lyon created this international forum as a place where their needs could be met: a place where entrepreneurs seeking new business partners, investors, distributors or people willing to set up a business abroad could get together, exchange views and seek advice.
With almost 32,000 member companies and 111 chambers in 82 countries, the French Chambers of commerce and Industry in France and abroad are a unique opportunity for French and foreign companies to build business relationships. They accompany and support companies at each stage of the international development project, from their business plan to their establishment abroad, with services like country reports, market researches, renting business premises abroad, HR services, business networking and event management, among others. For example, the Pyrenees Award ceremony, held each year by the French CCI in Barcelona, reminds of the importance of French business presence in Spain, with 1,800 French member companies in the county, mostly in the Catalonia region.
During the workshop “Exports as a development strategy: what business model to choose?”, the keynote by Philippe Eyraud, President of the International Commission of the CCI Lyon, touched on a critical issue: the importance for French companies of knowing the culture of their trading partners abroad. There, according to him, lies the success of a company’s internationalisation efforts. No wonder why! Just have a quick look at why it is essential to avoid cultural misunderstandings in this video.
The failure to understand the culture of your foreign business partners and how their customs, society, political and religious beliefs may affect business and social behaviour could certainly make it difficult for both parties to achieve the best, most appropriate business strategy.
The same goes, I would say, for end customers. One of the biggest mistakes that a business can make is to underestimate the implications that culture and language have on their marketing campaign. Cultural values like individualism vs. collectivism, high power vs. low power distance and masculinity vs. femininity can have a significant impact on how potential customers view your brand.
In addition to a good number of workshops and conferences on a variety of trade-related topics, the CCI Lyon’s International Forum offered a large set of country and sector stands for visitors interested in learning more about a specific market.
The event was accompanied by a great reception, including appetizers, opening speeches by honourable guests and CCI members and, above all, a perfect opportunity for more networking. This video on the opening conference will give you an idea of what to expect from the CCI Lyon’s International Forum next year.