Bayonne CCI is the government-funded organisation, based in the South-West of France, which is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs with their start-up business ideas within the boardsports industry. We talk to Franck Applagnat, the guy running the scheme, as he explains how useful Bayonne CCI can be to emerging business owners.
What are the key services that Bayonne CCI offers?
All of our services are free of charge and all services include connections to local partners, help to find the best offices and shops, contract help to develop the business, and connection to any European distributors.
Please tell us more about your brand incubator. What services do you offer? Can you give some examples of brands that have hatched?
The brand incubator exists to help young entrepreneurs adapt solutions to European markets and help them to reduce the time to market. We have 25 years of experience in helping these brands develop quick solutions from original ideas to prototypes, and the to market the solutions in a competitive context. For example, we helped a young company named ToyBoard to go from ideas to prototypes and then to sourcing, and finally to professional trade shows.
S-Wings have been a great example – how long had you been collaborating with them? What services were offered?
I have known CEO, Xabi Lafitte for years and I helped them to find public funds for the prototyping phase. Then I put them in contact with local projects to optimise the design and the choice of materials with http://compositadour.estia.fr/ who are the European specialists for research and development in the composites industry. They are working with Airbus and are able to help a young startup company.
Please tell us more about the new University set up and how you will be servicing sports courses there.
The University is going to open a new Masters in Sports Education, dedicated to the surf, snow, skate industry, welcoming young entrepreneurs. The University is a group effort to create new potential which will deliver a common degree from Bordeaux University and the Basque University in San Sebastian. 30 students will live right on the shore to dedicate their time to products or services design.
You will be constructing a second office building at the Olatu Leku complex in Anglet. What’s the thinking behind this?
The first Olatu building has been full from the beginning. We have young companies developing activities and looking for more spaces. We have some other companies lined up who would like to join this local stream for business developments. Lots of the companies that are already in Olatu are working within a very efficient synergy and the results are amazing in terms of turnover development and partnership development.
How important is it for Bayonne CCI to be surrounded by the European surf industry trends there?
About 80% of the turnover made in Europe is made by companies located between Mundaka and Bordeaux. We have been at the centre of this industry since the early 80s. It is very important for the chamber of commerce to support the work we do for the aeronautics industry. These companies are creating jobs and values in a very dynamic territory. The companies can find all types of competences with a great riding culture and lots of different nationalities in a small place like the Basque country. The concentration is even higher than California or the Gold Coast.
What do you see as the major challenges for the surf industry in 2017?
The major challenge in 2017 for our industry is to adapt to new economic models where it is essential to go quicker to market, and to adapt to the competition faced with fashion brands. It becomes compulsory to innovate and do it faster.