FRAMCO launches new plans to support French entrepreneurs in West Florida [fr]
Alexandre Navarro, Vice president of the French-American Business Council of West Florida, better known as FRAMCO talks about the organization’s missions and plans to revitalize its activities and supports its members to help them thrive.
Mr. Alexandre Navarro, hello: Could you remind us what are FRAMCO’s main missions?
- FRAMCO was established in 1988 for the purpose of helping French and European expatriates come to the Tampa Bay Area and build a business here, and additionally, to help Americans expand their business in France.
We also connect French and American businesses for whom a relationship would be of mutual benefit, in addition to connecting member companies with other French-American Chambers of commerce in other regions. Certain French and European institutions such as Business France and Franco-American companies in West Florida can be a huge help to an expatriate starting out in the area. We also offer further services to companies including business plans, virtual business addresses, and lawyers’ counsels, marketing, and networking events.
Who are the Board Directors today?
- Three new board members were elected in May 2020, when Christian Brechot was also elected President, having already served over a year on the board. The organization had previously been experiencing a dormant period.
Upon being elected, our first task was to work with the existing board members to rebuild the organization, with a special effort to modernize it and attract new members by offering them valuable tools and services. To that end, we’ve moved the address of the organization within Tampa to one better-suited to our needs.
Another early task was to contact other organizations and government agencies that partner with chamber of commerce, including the “Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie” (CCI) and Business France. I want to take the opportunity to thank the Consul General of France in Miami, Laurent Gallissot, who has provided a huge amount of help to our Chamber at every turn. I also want to thank the President of the Miami FACC, Christophe Poilleux, and the President of the Los Angeles FACC, Samuel Loy, for all their help and advice. Without all the support we’ve received from these people, our organization would still be in the early stages of revitalization, rather than being successfully resurrected.
How the FRAMCO has helped the entrepreneurs these last months?
- During the Covid-19 closures, our main priority has been to help business owners obtain the help they need to sustain their businesses, including SBA Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Plan subsidies. We’ve received a ton of questions from business owners who have had difficulty navigating the paperwork and understanding the terms of these programs.
What are the plans that FRAMCO want to implement?
- As business owners find their new normal in the current climate, we’ve focused our attention on other new projects. A major focus is creating a program to help the family members of French and European expatriates in the area adapt to life in the U.S. The culture shock can be significant when making a trans-Atlantic move, and we endeavor to help the spouses and children of newly-arrived business owners learn English and adapt to American culture, while also finding a network of expatriates who understand their experience.
At the moment, we’re also focusing on our website, which we’re completely rebuilding to be available in both French and English with updated content. The site will also present a member portal with features like the ability to directly contact other member businesses they’re interested in working with. We have so many projects we’re currently addressing, but the last major one at the moment is the addition of new business services for both members and non-members, including business plans, websites, marketing, freight shipping, etc.
Finally, we’re really looking forward to being able to gather safely again for networking events. FRAMCO will host traditional events like “Galette des Rois” and Beaujolais Nouveau, in addition to a monthly breakfast and other periodic events.
Hopefully, conditions will continue to improve to the point that we can resume these events before too many more holidays pass. Among the members of FRAMCO’s board, we’re all very optimistic about the future.
To contact FRAMCO, visit https://framco.org/