Adour Basin, Basque Country, 64: which professional network to choose?

professional network basque country

There are about a hundred professional networks in the Adour Basin. Whether they are self-help associations, professional federations or business clubs, these networks each offer their own services and philosophy. We have distinguished some of them and classified others into broad categories to help you choose yours.

One of the first reasons for an entrepreneur to join a professional network is often the search for new customers. Creating or reinforcing one's address book with this in mind can also be a good reason to join a professional association. While some networks are clearly based on a philosophy of developing turnover, the majority offer membership on broader principles such as sharing experience, training, pooling resources and helping to create or develop one's business. 

Turnover target with the BNI

Created in 1985 in the United States, the Business Network International (BNI) is a "business recommendation network" according to Vincent Graumer, its regional director for the Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. In France, the BNI has 20,000 members and the Adour Basin area (Basque Country, Béarn, Bigorre, Sud Landes) has 700 members divided into 24 groups. Each group brings together around thirty people and each member is the sole representative of his or her profession so as not to create competition.

BNI Pau Navarre - meeting-min

On its web page, the Pau-Navarre group of the BNI displays 2.5 million euros generated in the last twelve months thanks to the recommendations made by each member. 

To join BNI, you have to apply to a group and, if you are accepted, pay an entry fee of about 200 euros and an annual membership fee of 1,000 euros. The BNI is a franchise system, so people make a living from it. The BNI has the merit of frankly announcing its objectives and results, as it welcomes mainly self-employed people and very small businesses.

 There is a real method to the BNI. Each group meets once a week with an agenda. The members introduce themselves and each one has to explain what they have done for the others. Who gives, receives, that's the basic principle 


President of the Pau-Navarre group.

Fifteen associations united in the Basque Country Inter-network

"It is a federation of associations that proposes exchanges of experience, partnerships and meetings, but without any direct search for financial results", summarises Sandrine Antoine, president of the Basque Country Inter-network. Individuals do not join this association directly but through the fifteen member associations of the Basque Country Inter-network.

Inter-network Basque Country - Bureau-min

The originality of the Basque Country Inter-network is that it brings together entities as different as the Rotary Club Bayonne Biarritz, the Basque Academy of Sport and the association Emploi Nouvelle Donne. With its annual forum, business meetings and convivial events, the Basque Country Inter-Network offers interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral meetings. It is therefore a professional network for networking but perhaps not a business club.

In the end, about 1,500 members are grouped together

Emilie Vasiniac

In charge of the communication of this group of associations.

Company trade unions to defend your interests and find your peers

Whether it is the MEDEF, the CPME, the UMIH or the UIMM, these employers' organisations are powerful and have local representations with offices and staff. Defending their interests with the State and economic players, sitting on social bodies, these unions also activate numerous services for their members: legal and administrative information, assistance, training, recruitment, etc. These unions are of course business networks simply because they bring together men and women who run companies. It is therefore logical that they exchange tips and cooperate if they get along well.  

Multi-sector business clubs to integrate the economic ecosystem

club affaires 64

Based in Pau, the 64 business club has 70 members.

With an annual membership fee of 100 euros and a fee of 20 euros to attend a conference, the 64 business club is positioned as a friendly space designed to encourage knowledge and the exchange of experience.

We are business leaders. It is by knowing people that we can create things and make recommendations.

Michel Karckach

President of the 64 Business Club

Other business clubs of this type exist in the Adour Basin. Less expensive and less demanding than structures like the BNI, these multi-sector business clubs depend on the commitment of the management team. As in any association of the 1901 law type, if no one really gives their time, it doesn't work for long.

The advantage of these business clubs, which bring together all professions, is that they offer a broad business culture and exchanges without immediate profit. Sharing moments with entrepreneurs allows you to increase your knowledge of your socio-economic environment, which is always instructive. And socialising with other entrepreneurs without necessarily looking for a return on investment is a useful medium-term strategy.

100% women's clubs

Several associations such as Femmes Chefs d'Entreprise, Diriger au Féminin or Femmes 3000 are aimed at women. Operating like other associations, they each have their own specificity, their theme and of course their network.

Clusters and poles to strengthen your industry

"Cluster" is an English term meaning "cluster" or "group". With the Covid crisis, this term was used to designate an epidemic outbreak, but in the economic world, a cluster designates a grouping of companies. The France Clusters association defines clusters as "networks of companies made up mainly of SMEs and VSEs, strongly anchored locally, often in the same production niche and often in the same sector".

In the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, around ten clusters have been set up with the support of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The CCI Pau Béarn supports two clusters: the Béarn Tourism Cluster with around fifty members and Lacq Plus which brings together around one hundred SMEs and industrialists from the Lacq Basin.

 Iris Maugin

 Head of Communications for the CCI Pau Béarn

The Basque Country has six clusters created by the Bayonne Pays Basque Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with Goazen dedicated to tourism, EuroSIMA Cluster to gliding, Pays Basque Digital to digital, Osasuna to health, Health LSR to the liquid silicone industry and Uztartu to food processing. 

A cluster is not a business club where people come to find clients. A cluster brings together companies of all sizes, but also training organisations, research centres, local authorities and associations- in short, all the players in the same economic sector. Gathered in an association, they carry out actions together that they could not carry out alone. While some rare clusters unfortunately have no other purpose than to be a purchasing centre, the vast majority of clusters carry out more ambitious mutualised actions, sometimes with permanent staff for operational development.   

Clusters participate in research and development programmes, organise joint recruitment actions, participate in the promotion of their sector of activity, organise themselves to conquer markets or even pool training sessions. Sometimes clusters take the place of professional unions to make their voice heard, but this is not their role. Organised and structured, clusters can offer partnership opportunities. Very often, clusters act on a departmental level and on a regional level there are competitiveness clusters bringing together industrial sectors.  

Leadership circles to support each other

CJD centre for young business leaders (CJD) Basque country

The Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants d'entreprise (CJD ) has about fifty members in the Basque Country, 150 in the Adour Basin and 5,700 in France.

The annual membership fee of 1,500 euros allows the association to join, which organises a monthly plenary session with a workshop or conference. Company visits and thematic work are also scheduled with groups of about 15 people. The CJD has a humanist identity and is involved in social issues with, for example, the recent publication of recommendations for candidates in the regional election campaign.

It is not a business club, it is focused on the training of the profession of business leader as well as on mutual aid. It is a multi-sectoral association to enrich each other and whose motto is the economy at the service of mankind

Mathieu Mas

President of the CJD Basque Country

There are many business circles in the 64 department as well as professional associations such as the Dirigeants commerciaux de France (DCF). You will not meet potential clients or direct relays of turnover there, but these associations will help you to progress technically in your trade. Clubs and circles of the same trade also allow you to find a job through networking or through specific events. Finally, this type of association naturally offers access to useful documentation on your trade.

Specific structures for business creation

The Entreprendre Adour association is a good example of how these associations or organisations support project leaders and business creators. Belonging to the Réseau Entreprendre, which has 82 branches in France, Entreprendre Adour covers the departments of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes and part of the Hautes-Pyrénées. It offers individual support from a business manager and training with other business creators, as well as very advantageous financial loans. Being selected for this programme guarantees access to the association's network.

Logo entreprendre adour

With the aim of helping the creation of innovative companies, several incubators and business nurseries are located in the 64 department and welcome around fifty young entrepreneurs. In addition to business training and administrative and legal support, these structures offer offices at reduced rents. Managed and run collectively by the Communities of Agglomerations, the CCI, the Region, the State services and networks such as French Tech, these dynamic structures attract the attention of local business networks, as a result of the start-up effect. Joining an incubator is an undeniable accelerator for young companies.  

You manage a professional network and you want to promote it on the blog? You want to get more clients but don't know which network to choose? Send us a message, we can discuss it.

Vincent Biard

The author of this article

Vincent Biard has been working for the press and in communication for twenty years and is now a journalist for the local and economic press. He also provides services related to the Internet and social networks, training and consulting in communication. You can also find him on his website cairn-communication.fr.

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