The 2012/08/24 at 08:08
Alexandre T. Analis
Organised by the CCI International Nord de France, Futurallia 2012 took place at the Grand Palais de Lille and gathered a total of 975 participants from 25 countries. 650 rendezvous schedules were edited and over 6,500 rendezvous organised, making this 17th edition the largest in the last six years. As well as scheduled rendezvous, many informal meetings were improvised in the areas set aside for delegation heads or the conference centre’s relaxation spaces. The foreign countries to be most represented were Belgium (85 participants), Burkina Faso (38), Canada (33), Algeria (26) and Tunisia (18). In terms of sectors of activity, the business services domain was the most represented with 174 participants, followed by businesses from the metallurgical and mechanical industry (128) and the building and public works sector (101).
For the great majority of participants, the event was a great success. “This is the first time that I have participated in Futurallia and I have to say that this convention’s mode of functioning is extremely practical: in the end, we exchange as much during the scheduled rendezvous as during informal meetings over a coffee,” states Olivier Fabre, Sales Manager of Doublet. “Our company that advocates a management style focusing on the wellbeing of employees can share its experience in this domain for example.” As during the previous editions organised since 1990 in France, Belgium, Canada, Poland, Qatar and the United States, Futurallia 2012 has enabled SMEs to meet other businesses of their own size during rendezvous lasting no more than 30 minutes, making this convention something like “speed dating” for businesses, with a focus on efficiency.
Large groups were also present to steer sponsorship operations. In this way, Arc International, Auchan, Geodis, Rabot Dutilleul, Roquette and Total accompanied over 30 regional SMEs over this event. “We had already participated in Futurallia in Doha and generally speaking, we have been offering aid to SMEs for thirty years, namely in partnership with CCIs and Ubifrance,” explains Patrick Denorme, Nord Pas-de-Calais Delegate of the Regional Development unit at Total. “To help them go overseas, we have set up three tools: contacts with our subsidiary managers; VIE (business volunteering) support (office rental, help with setting up, follow-up by a tutor…); SME support at forums and trade fairs,” adds Dominique Champetier de Ribes, in charge of International Development Affairs for SMEs in the same Total unit. “Last year, Total carried out over 450 initiatives overseas and helped 380 SMEs. Our participation in Futurallia Lille is quite representative of our social policy with regard to SMEs.”
As proof of the success of its operational mode, Futurallia has inspired other conventions overseas, using it as a springboard. A delegation of Corkmeet, to take place in Ireland from 10 to 12 April 2013, was present for the seventh time at Futurallia. “This is an event that offers many opportunities for SMEs. If Irish enterprises have less trouble exporting than French SMEs (we have no language barrier!), it should be noted that we are a small country in terms of the number of inhabitants and that we therefore need to multiply international contacts to grow,” notes Sean O’Sullivan, CEO of the South Cork Enterprise Board. The fourth edition of Corkmeet is expected to welcome 600 enterprises, with at least 200 from overseas. A few months later, on 5 and 6 June 2013, it will be Istanbul that will be hosting the eighteenth edition of Futurallia. “This event will primarily set out to open the doors of international markets to Turkish enterprises,” announces Haluk Kanca, General Manager of the World Trade Centre in Istanbul. “We are expecting more than 800 businesses (50 % from overseas) from 40 different countries.”
More detailed information is available on the following web site: www.futurallialille2012.com