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Côte d'Azur

BCC Riviera - Riviera Business Club

BCC Riviera as it is has been known up till January 2010, was The British Chamber of Commerce which was started in 1994 by a group of young British business people wishing to promote exchange with their French counterparts. Although "British", the Chamber sought to encourage not only British and French companies and sole traders - already well represented in the area, but also other nationalities present on the Côte d'Azur who can join and take advantage of the business facilities and contacts they can offer.

In January 2010 it all changed at the BCC as it is now known as the Riviera Business Club - RBC.

Current and past press releases, news stories and information HERE

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jml Property Service who run and Cote d' have been members

The interests and activities of the BCC arise directly from those of its members, whose input and involvement is actively encouraged. Its major strength lies in the professional qualities of its members, whose detailed and practical knowledge of both the Anglo-Saxon and the French ways of doing business covers a wide range of activities.

With an ever-expanding membership amongst the Anglophone businesses of the Côte d'Azur, the aims are:

1. To help people living in or visiting the region to find a networking platform amongst English-speaking businesses.

2. To assist business newcomers with the creation and development of their new business providing our expertise and experience. We can put you in touch with a team of competent professionals in all aspects of business, from accounting to banking, legal advice to advertising. We've all started from scratch and built enterprises that have proved successful. We can help you do the same!

3. To organise events, workshops and seminars covering all practical concerns of daily business. These sessions are also an ideal opportunity to meet other members and business people to discuss common interests.

As part of the BCC network, you will belong to a dynamic business community that will help promote your activities, both internally amongst other members, and externally throughout the region. Tell the BCC what you do and the BCC will tell the Côte d'Azur!

For more information click on the logo below

Meetings Info

The Marketing Road Show. Part 2. The Social Network explained - February 2011

Green Marketing at The Riviera Business Club October 2010 and Rachel Elnaugh is coming to town November 2010

Reach for the stars with the Riviera Business Club!

Making and Saving money for SMEs -RBC April 2010 Meeting

The RBC - Riviera Business Club Goes Green in March - February 24th 2010 - Press Release

BCC Riviera Goes International - 31st January 2010

2009 BCC Business Person of the Year announced on Saturday 28th November 2009

Great Success for the BCC Riviera 2009 Summer Party

The New Committee for 2009

Mike Lorimer steps down as President of the BCC - January 2009

BCC Business Person of the Year Award 2008

BCC Business Person of the Year Award 2007

La Chambre de Commerce Britannique de la Riviera


The Marketing Road Show. Part 2. The Social Network explained

Pictures on-line Marketing Road Show. Part 2. Two Millions Views and counting Click here to see what you've missed or enjoyed. RBC would like to thank Renaud Guerin for the great pictures. Another value for money evening with 5 top experts that taught you things you did not know about your website, traffic and conversion rates. The RBC continously helps you build your traffic and your sales! Sign up as a member and join us today!

This is what it was all about - Thursday the 17th of February 20011 is your chance to get professional connected to the digital world. Listen how Mike Hardaker and Ab Kuijer explain the Social Network, where and what is your Long Tail and why storytelling is more important then any traditional advertising message. Bring your laptop so we can help you 'on the spot' with the settings to get more out of your Linkedin profile, Facebook Page or Twitter account. The Riviera Business Club helps you to get new clients, so join us this thursday and invite your friends too!

Venue: Hôtel Mercure Sophia Antipolis Rue Albert Caquot 06560 VALBONNE 35 euro for RBC members 45 euro's for colleagues, friends, family and tourists Welcome drinks and networking from 6.30 pm Presentation starts at 7.15 pm Networking buffet and breakout groups, workshops and networking from 8 pm All-in price for welcome drink, presentations, workshops, dinner buffet and drinks. Buffet is veggy-friendly.

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Reach for the stars with the Riviera Business Club! June 2010

The Riviera Business Club invites you to reach for the stars at its Rooftop Summer Party, sponsored by ABN AMRO Bank, on Friday 25th June. With a 360° view of Nice, we'll be partying on the open-air terrace at the top of the Grand Hotel Aston, to one of the hottest DJs in town - DJ Lyrics

The evening will kick off with another round of the networking event which proved so popular last month - 90 seconds to new business - and then it'll be party time, when you can chat to interesting people, enjoy a great buffet, good wines, and let your hair down.

There'll also be a charity raffle in support of - an organisation that gives terminally ill children an opportunity to have their greatest wish fulfilled - and prizes include a stylish Scandinavian designer chair - donated by Nordic Design - a dinner for six, served in your own home, by Curry & Spice, or a fast and furious daytrip on a Ducati Monster 969 motorbike, offered by Columbus International. Please check our homepage for the latest information, as this exciting list is growing. We should be delighted to accept further prizes. Your company name and donation will be published online and on the evening itself. Please contact us on

Date: Friday 25th June 2010 Time: 20h00 Place: Grand Hotel Aston 12 Avenue Félix Faure, Nice Tel: 04 92 17 53 64 (parking in the Place Massena garage opposite is convenient and inexpensive)

Tickets are on sale now and can be booked online only via Paypal at The cost for members is € 55 per person, and for friends and guests, € 65. Special dietary requests can be emailed to:

"It was one of the most beautiful spots they have ever been to, and here are the pictures to prove it! Click here to watch the slide show. With special thanks to ABN AMRO private banking for sponsoring the event and Marta Szczesniak for taking the pictures - See them Here."

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The RBC - Riviera Business Club Goes Green in March

The Riviera Business Club goes green at its event to be held on Thursday, 25th March. Entitled Green Marketing - good for you and for your sales, and sponsored by Jyske Bank, this event aims to inspire members and friends to rethink their business, their marketing and their sales.

Thinking and acting green are not only good for the environment and the next generation, they can also help to create better brand positioning. Selling the environmental attributes of products has been a niche marketing strategy for decades, but in recent years, green marketing has gone mainstream. Fuelled by growing media attention to global climate change and other environmental issues, the demand for "environmentally friendly" products and services has soared. Initiatives include everything from measuring a campaign's carbon footprint to preserving the honeybee population.

The RBC has the honour of welcoming Petra Steinke of Newsbroker, a partner of the ACT Responsible initiative (Advertising Community Together) - a non-profit organisation whose aim is to show the positive role of advertising in today's social and environmental issues. The green market is a growing industry standard, not a niche trend. Petra will give an overview of green marketing strategies and describe the new group of educated consumers who make conscientious purchasing and investing decisions based on social and cultural values.

The international networking organisation is also proud to welcome Mr Lorenzo Turco, Business Development Manager for the UK market of the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. As one of the leading European Congress Centres, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco has been awarded the ISO 14 001 standard for its environmental management system. It offers its clients a bespoke, effective and eco-friendly approach. Mr Turco will share a case study of one of their Green Events.

Green Marketing - good for you and for your sales will be held at the Media Garden Hotel in Sophia Antipolis-Valbonne on 25th March at 19.00. A welcome drink will precede the presentation which starts at 19.30.

Tickets are now on sale for the presentation, which includes a three-course dinner: Members: 35 euro Guests: 45 euro. Bookings can be made online only via Paypal at,

The Riviera Business Club is the new name for the BCC Riviera, a non-profit organisation whose objective is to stimulate networking and facilitate contact between people looking for and promoting English-speaking businesses and services on the Cote d'Azur. We are an international association, connecting with almost 1000 people of many European and worldwide nationalities who are living and working in this region. Now in its 14th year of existence, The Riviera Business Club is the largest international business network in the South of France.

The Riviera Business Club is part of the British Chamber of Commerce, Association Loi 1901 Postal adress: VBA International | Drakkar Building C and D | 2405 Route des Dolines | BP 65 06902 Sophia Antipolis | PACA, France |

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BCC Riviera Goes International - 31st January 2010

Left: Ab Kuijer, President and initiator of the new Business Club

The BCC (British Chamber of Commerce) Riviera has a new look for the new year. It has taken the decision to undergo a name change, and will now be known as the Riviera Business Club - the network for international business people.

Whilst the organisation will still be backed by the BCC, it is felt that the new name will better reflect the growing international composition of the club's membership - and help to broaden its reach across a part of France which attracts a wide range of nationalities.

Whilst the organisation will still be backed by the BCC, it is felt that the new name will better reflect the growing international composition of the club's membership - and help to broaden its reach across a part of France which attracts a wide range of nationalities.

Speaking at the recent AGM, Ab Kuijer, President and initiator of the new Business Club, explained the rationale behind this decision. "We'd like the organisation to be 'nationality neutral', to encourage business people from all parts of the world to join. If you come to France from Argentina, for example, you might feel that you wouldn't qualify for membership of a British Chamber of Commerce, but you'd probably feel more comfortable approaching an international business club - and it's this sort of hurdle that we want to remove. We'd like business people of any nationality, who are living and running their businesses on the Riviera, to feel welcome."

This decision was unanimously adopted by the members who attended the AGM, and a new web address has already been registered: Those accessing this site will automatically be directed to the existing website, which will soon take on the new branding.

The AGM was held at the Media Garden Hotel in Sophia Antipolis on 22nd January, followed by a luncheon for members and friends. A review of the successful events which had taken place during 2009 preceded a preview of some of those planned for this year. Topics to be covered include Making your own website in 15 minutes, Green Marketing brings new clients, Social Media; what is your strategy? and How to start up/maintain your business in France.

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2009 BCC Business Person of the Year announced on Saturday 28th November 2009

(photo courtesy of BCC Riviera - Ab Kuijer & Karen Marsh ) The Riviera Business Person of the Year Gala was held in a new format. Around 100 international business people descended on the Riviera Marriott Hotel in Cap d'Ail on November 28th to find out who had won the BCC Riviera Business Person of the Year for 2009. It was a black-tie event that was a perfect mix for business and pleasure.

BCC Riviera's president Ab Kuijer said in his opening address that times are still tough for business owners, but that people are adapting to the new situation and that new business is moving. The role of the BCC Riviera is more than ever to stimulate that movement amongst each other.

The guests raised all  1600 euro for charity for the Rêves Foundation in Cannes that helps terminal ill children to fullfill their last wish. Serial entrepeneur Candace Johnson (Sophia Business Angels) announced the final winners of this year's edition of The Riviera Business Person of the Year.In the end Karen Marsh of VBA International just piped Mike Lorimer and Rachael Dickens to the top prize, decided by BCC members and a jury. Entrepeneur Candace Johnson (Sophia Business Angels) announced the winner at the black tie function. See the pictures from the night Here and jml Property Services are members of the BCC Riviera. The organisation is constantly looking for new members in the business community in the south of France. They have monthly meetings and our website has devoted a page to this organisation. Although original called the "British Chamber of Commerce" as there more and more "international" members (including the French of course) it is now the BCC Riviera.

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Great Success for the BCC Riviera 2009 Summer Party

The BCC Riviera had a great summer party on Saturday 27th June. The event was held at the Royal Beach in Antibes which is a great restaurant offering good quality Italian food just on the water's edge.

The music was great, however the local Antibes Police did pop in at around 11 pm, instructing the party goers to reduce the decibels a bit.

Around a hundred 'international minds' with bodies dressed entirely in white - representing over 10 nationalities - enjoyed a non-stop flow of great food, drinks, dancing and conversation.

An important part of the evening was also a successful and fun charity draw which raised 800 euros for Association Rêves. It is a soul-touching cause, exemplified by our own donation which is ear-marked to help realize the dream of an eight year old boy from Cannes who has a terminal illness. So in a way we helped maintain a balance between the important realities of life and the need to fully enjoy that same life.

Mission accomplished, the BCC Riviera goes into a summer break and returns in September! All pictures of the Summer party can be found All the pictures of the summer party can be found Here and jml Property Services are members of the BCC Riviera. The organisation is constantly looking for new members in the business community in the south of France. They have monthly meetings and our website has devoted a page to this organisation. Although original called the "British Chamber of Commerce" as there more and more "international" members (including the French of course) it is now the BCC Riviera.

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The New Committee for 2009 (in alphabetical order information from BCC website)

Leigh Bodin-Bitouzet: American. I first arrived on the Cote D'Azur in June 2000, working as a yacht chef. I continued to work on yachts along the Cote D'Azur for the next five years. In 2006, after being disappointed with the work prospects on shore, I decided to open my own event management and catering firm, Fusion Event Management. I am now enjoying some time off to spend with my lovely 8 month old son. The BCC plays a vital role in uniting our international business community and it is with pleasure that I offer my knowledge and experience as an event coordinator to the BCC.

Nigel Brotherton: Born in York, gained a business degree, and set out on a long career with British retailer WH Smiths, eventually retiring as Retail Logistics Director in 1999, to "sort of" consult a little and play golf a lot. I have just set up our own French company "FineWineWorks" to offer formal wine training through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Throughout my career, I have enjoyed being involved in the work of public bodies and was Chairman of the British Institute of Management in Swindon as well as director of the Swindon Development Agency and The North Yorkshire Moors Park Authority. I feel sure that my experiences with these bodies plus a huge enthusiasm for making small and medium sized businesses succeed, (including ours!), will help me to position the BCC as a highly respected business and enterprise promoter here on the Cote d'Azur.

Yvonne Coers: Born in Holland, living since 1997 in the South of France. I worked as a receptionist in luxury hotels and as a hostess and cook on private yachts. I have been responsible for the holiday rentals in real estate agency Eden Rives where I met my partner Thierry. At the moment I am occasionally working as a freelance hostess, taking painting classes, making clothes, refurbishing and painting furniture and working out several times a week. For the BCC Riviera I use my professional experience to organise the back-office (administration, accounting, invitations and event preparations).

Jacquie Côté: Pisces, from Winnipeg, Manitoba - Canada. After meeting my soul mate in Costa Rica back in 2005, we are now engaged and currently living in Antibes. We arrived in the Cote D'Azur in June 2006 and I opened my own business in personalized art, Deseo Design, in 2007. Within the past six months I also started selling an environmentally friendly product, called "Clean Water Solutions" to the yachting industry and just recently started as a freelance sales consultant for the Mediterraneum Editions. I have several years experience volunteering for a social committee back in Winnipeg, where I was responsible for the budget, organization and management of several different events simultaneously. I have missed organizing new and fun-filled events and bringing people together to enjoy good times. I am really looking forward to helping out as an event coordinator for the BCC

Tim Ellis: Born in the UK, but first half of my life spent in Hong Kong. Have lived in Val d'Azur (nestled just north of Sophia Antipolis) for around 7 years with my French wife and two dual-nationality daughters. I've been offering marketing-oriented consultancy services for a number of years from here, yet most of my customers ended up being pan-European. Before that was a company director in UK for 10+ years, several years of that as MD of a direct marketing company. 2009 looks to be an exciting year as I'm setting up a new direct marketing company that uses some cool technology to help bridge the gap between companies and their customers - as well as joining the BCC as a keen believer in the natural value and benefits of networking, especially in our great international setting.

Wolfram Gunther: Born in Frankfurt, Germany, I came in 2003 to Sophia-Antipolis for working for local law firm before joining FiDAL as international tax lawyer in 2007. I am particularly involved in explaining and bringing advice to foreigners who would like to settle down on the Côte d'Azur, either to start up business or just for enjoying life-style. Thus, I would like to contribute my experience to the BCC making it more efficient for those already running their business or thinking about to do so.

Ab Kuijer: Capricorn. Born in Amsterdam, living in Cagnes sur Mer. Father of 3 kids, married with Fab. That makes AbFab kind of a mission statement. Founder/ceo at JuniorSenior Communication agency with offices in Paris, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam and still expanding into emerging markets. I started my businesslife as owner and manager of several radiostations, a publishing house and a tv production company. I do something back for society by organising business and charity related network events in my non-profit role as Ambassador for InterNations Côte d'Azur and as President of British Chamber of Commerce. I like to share my entrepeneurial experiences of the last 25 years and help BCC Riviera to develop its position to be of a greater value to existing and start-up companies at the Cote d'Azur.

Christiane Perroud: Pisces ascendant pisces. Head of Barclays International Provence/Cote d'Azur Centre since 2001, targeted local events by promoting brand awareness, business development, tailored solutions for new international clients i.e. accounts, mortgages, investments, savings, tax and civil regulation advices. Prior to setting up from scratch the Barclays International Centre, branch manager in Barclays Menton and Barclays Cagnes sur Mer. I am trying to speak English and Italian quite fluently, and I am working in the banking industry since 1983. Started business life in the far- off past by selling houses. Obtaining an Executive MBA/HEC diploma in 2001, and an International Asset Management diploma (D.U. gestion Internationale du patrimoine) Clermont-Ferrand University, in 2008. I am pleased to help the BCC as a "French Liaison Officer", and to pass-on some financial information at the occasion of BCC presentations.

Sabine Weber: I am born in Munich, Germany, and live in Monaco for 8 years now. After having been a freelance Marketing Consultant in Monaco I joined Mediterraneum Editions in 2003 and am responsible for Marketing and Sales. Mediterraneum Editions is the number one publisher for foreign language media in the region and always dedicates editorial space to the BCC in our English publication THE RIVIERA TIMES. I speak German, English, Italian and French and would like to help the BCC to develop commercial partnerships as well as contacts with new members or sponsors.

Jacquie Wilkinson: Born and educated in the north east of England. Commercially trained in buying and retail management within the Burton Group(Top Shop /Top Man /Debenhams.) Left the UK in 1988 and opened the first Bodyshop franchise in France(Nice Etoile) and eventually a second boutique in 2004 (Cap 3000). I sold both businesses to the l'Oreal group after the take over of The Body Shop International in 2007. Recently I have been involved with a start up company in Sophia Antipolis, developing an idea of communication between retailer and consumer through mobile phones. I enjoy networking and feel that with my experience in company ownership in France plus the many contacts made through local retail associations I can contribute to the development of the BCC.

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Mike Lorimer steps down as President of the BCC - January 2009 - New president is Dutchman Ab Kuijer.

At the AGM of the British Chamber of Commerce of the Riviera held at the Novotel, Sophia Antipolis last night, outgoing president, Mike Lorimer, opened proceedings by presenting a cheque for €1.100 to Valerie Haxton, Group Chairman of The British Association of the Alpes-Maritimes and Var region. The money had been raised by the membership at recent functions and is a significant contribution to the Association's charitable works.

After reporting that the 2008 season had seen a number of very successful events, culminating in the highly publicised Business Person of the Year Gala Dinner and Dance. Mike went on to thank the members of the committee for their dedicated and effective contributions to such a successful year. At this point, Wolfrum Gunther, Treasurer reported that the Association remained financially very strong, even though there had been a planned but small deficit on the 12 month income and expenditure account.

Mike finally told the members that both he and his wife Liz were stepping down as President and Secretary respectively after being involved in the running of the chamber for 6 years both as committee members and, for the last 4 years, with Mike as President. "We have had a great time being involved in the day to day running of the BCC", Mike said, "But it is now time for new blood and energy to grapple with the challenges facing our membership in these recessionary times" He went on to say that he was delighted to be handing over the top job to Vice President, Ab Kuijer, whom he was confident would lead the BCC on from strength to strength.

Ab responded by thanking Mike and Liz for all their hard work over the last 6 years and commended them for leaving the BCC in an extremely strong financial and influential position. Ab then presented the outgoing President with 2 tickets for a well deserved break in Amsterdam, Ab's home city.

The AGM then went on to elect its committee for 2009. The election confirmed Ab in his position as President and then went on to re-elect Leigh Bodin-Bitouzet (Events), Wolfram Gunther (Finance), Christiane Perroud (Advisor), Sabine Weber (Commercial) and Jacquie Wilkinson (Sponsorship). Also, newly elected as committee members were: Nigel Brotherton (Public Relations), Yvonne Coers (Operations), Jacquie Côté (joint Events) and Tim Ellis (Digital Media & Web Marketing)

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BCC Business Person of the Year Award 2008

The judges for the BCC Business Person of the Year Award have nominated the following shortlist:

  • Peter Bennett - Bluewater Yachting, Antibes
  • Ole Bjerregaard - Bo Concept owner and MD
  • Caroline Brittain - Brittain's Home Stores, Valbonne
  • Hiro Iizawa - Domaine St Endreol
  • Florence Lafforgue EBICA School, Sophia Antipolis
  • Peter Mackley - Riviera Organisation
  • Koen Vanden Hoeck - Powerplate

Judges were Mike Lorimer, President BCC Rivera; Sabine Webber, Director Riviera Times; Rob Rutter, Vice President Merryl Lynch, Monaco; and Paul Kavanagh, Managing Director Rivera Radio.

The winner Hiro Iizawa from St. Endreol as the new Business Person of the Year was announced at the BCC Rivera Gala Dinner at the Palais de la Mediterranee, Nice on Saturday 29th November, with the presentation by Henk Potts the well known broadcaster for Barclays Wealth in London. Hiro has overseen the successful development of the ever expanding Les Domaines de Saint Endreol in the Var, with new conference facilities, over 200 houses, luxury hotel, golf and spa resort.

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BCC Business Person of the Year Award 2007

The Winner of the 2007 Business Person of the Year wass Richard Green of Riviera Homefinders

Runners Up were Carolyn Brittain of Brittain’s Home Stores and Hayley Rhiannon of Orange Design

The judges for the Riviera Business person of the year 2007 were: Stelios (Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou )- founder of EasyJet and serial entrepreneur Rob Rutter - President of Merrill Lynch and British Association of Monaco Mike Lorimer - President of British Chamber of Commerce Paul Kavanagh - and his team, Director of Riviera Radio

La Chambre de Commerce Britannique de la Riviera française est une association à but non lucratif dont l'objet est de faciliter le contact entre les personnes en charge de promouvoir les entreprises et services anglophones sur la Côte d'Azur et les personnes qui les recherchent.

Malgré son nom, l'association est loin d'être un Club Britannique, c'est une association internationale avec des membres issus du monde entier. Dans sa 12ème année d'activité elle donne la possibilité de faire du networking avec des professionnels dans un esprit international.

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Other pages to see:

Home Page Cote d'Azur Rental

Historic Monaco Grand Prix

Cannes Film Festival

Jazz à Juan - Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival

Drive along the corniches of the Riviera - Destination France - Spring 2012

Provence et Côte D'Azur - Destination France - Summer 2010

At a Glance Guide to Nice - Destination France - Spring 2010

Fact File Nice

Old Photos of South of France and Monaco

Riviera reality from French Property News September 2006


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