A closer look at a program, “Go between in Provence”, that matches up people selling businesses and potential buyers from France or abroad
Are you tempted to switch lifestyles and start a new career in Provence? Are you looking for external growth opportunities? Then “Go Between in Provence” is made for you. Here’s a closer look at a program that matches up people selling businesses and potential buyers from France or abroad. In 2016, this initiative, custom developed by Provence Promotion, enabled nine Provence-based companies to stay in business and get a fresh start.
Provence is full of hidden treasures in the form of SMBs with deep roots in the region that are looking for a buyer. Yet too many companies close shop each year for lack of a new owner to step in and take the reins. These businesses have spent years fine-tuning a concept or products and they have customer bases. The path is already laid out. Provence Promotion sniffs out these gems with the goal of ensuring the baton is passed between the seller and potential buyer, whether it is a natural or legal person. In 2016, nine companies were able to continue operating in the region with the assistance of the “Go Between in Provence” program.
These include Etic, a small rail-road specialist that was sold to Rental Loc. The Belgian buyer not only saved the five existing jobs, but actually plans to double the staff size at this company that focuses on the rental and maintenance of railway rolling stock.
After a long career in finance in England, Franck Mouly was longing for a new life. At the entrepreneurs show, he had a decisive encounter with the Provence Promotion team. Defying expectations, instead of taking over a local business, he chose to open his own shop in Aix-en-Provence. His store, “Melville Design”, has been selling lighting fixtures and furniture to businesses and individuals since September 2016.
Christophe Jacquart, who wanted to move to Provence, also benefited from the counsel of Provence Promotion. He was pointed toward the IRCE and CRA, members of the “Go Between in Provence” partner network, which helped him make plans that led to taking over the leading online sports and recreation booking service, sport-decouverte.com, based in La Ciotat. His roster has nearly doubled from 12 to 20 employees.
Attending fairs and organizing workshops
As a networking specialist, Provence Promotion introduces 50 buyers and sellers each year.
Small businesses for sale are mostly identified at seminars held throughout the region in conjunction with local stakeholders and chambers of commerce and with the support of the program’s expert partners.
At an event held in late April in Aix-en-Provence, experts from KPMG answered questions raised by business owners looking to sell about future buyers’ perceptions during negotiations. How do they perceive my business? To what extent could they take over my company and make it successful? How do they assess it?
In June, entrepreneurs from Aubagne gathered for “Nocturnes de la Transmission”, an evening session for business owners looking to sell, and a workshop in Arles in September on the “Pacte Dutreil” was led by tax attorneys. The last workshop of the year took place in Miramas and drew fifteen companies eager to learn how to show their businesses in the best light with the Akheos consulting firm, Istres Ouest Provence local authorities and the Club des Entreprises.
Provence Promotion also detects entrepreneurs with plans and ideas at trade shows. In 2017, the agency will once again participate in “Parcours France” and the “Work and Career Mobility Fair”, which will be held next January in Paris.