FRENCH and Sussex start-up companies will be doing business at sea.

The cross Channel communities of Newhaven and Dieppe in France are meeting in international waters to discuss future business ties and investment opportunities in April

The start-up cruise is hosted by Normandy Ecospace and Newhaven Regeneration Group (NRG).

It will bring together 60 entrepreneurs from both sides of the Channel to boost the existing trade links between Sussex and Normandy.

It is sponsored by ferry operator DFDS and Veolia.

The ship will depart from Newhaven at 10am on Thursday, April 4, with the English businesses, mentors and potential investors.

On arrival in Dieppe, the French contingent will be welcomed on board and the return crossing dedicated to boosting business.

Graham Precey, from NRG, said: “This is a unique opportunity for start-ups to explore new connections and opportunities with their cross channel neighbours.

“Normandy and Sussex have a proud trading history bridging hundreds of years and we want to promote the existing ties and develop them for the future to create a Sussex Normandy Hub of businesses changing the world.

“Newhaven is a great place and it really does have so much potential.

“Of course, it has faced its challenges over the years, that’s no secret.

“I genuinely believe that Newhaven has a bright future, and we want to play our role in that.”

Valery Jimonet of Normandy Ecospace said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for all the start-ups to network, establish new contacts and develop their ideas.

“We have much in common and we’re looking forward to seeing a thriving cross channel partnership as a result of our voyage of discovery.”

Several notable guests are expected on board including Sébastien Forest, founder of “Allo resto” – the French equivalent of the online delivery app Just Eat – and Victor Gobourg, founder of Private Market.

Interested UK entrepreneurs, sponsors and investors from both Sussex and Normandy can join the cruise by registering at or by contacting

You can follow the start up cruise at

Normandy Ecospace is focused on energy and media innovations, including prototyping machines, a wide range of printers and 3D scanners.

NRG is a social enterprise dedicated to incubation and business development with a particular focus on clean, green and marine innovations. Both organisations work together to boost entrepreneurialism between the UK and France.

This alliance will be formalised in a partnership agreement signed between chairmen of NES, Valery Jimonet and NRG, Graham

Precey, in international waters on the day.

Interested entrepreneurs, sponsors and investors from both Sussex and Normandy can join the cruise by registering at by Friday.

Back in 2016, we reported that MP Maria Caulfield has predicted that down-trodden Newhaven will become the “go-to place” for Sussex in ten years’ time.

The MP for Lewes, whose constituency covers Newhaven, said the town could see a swathe of trendy bars and restaurants to compete with Sussex’s hippest enclave.

Ms Caulfield told The Argus: “I think Newhaven will compete with Brighton but it would be a different offer.

“There’s no reason why we can’t have quayside coffee bars, shops and activities and we have the population to support that.

“If we have a quayside, it seems crazy not to use it.

“Physically we’re not as big as Brighton but there’s no reason why people might not come here for the evening.

“Once people start coming to Newhaven there’s more chance that they will return.

“The potential is huge.

“We have often been the Cinderella when it comes to regeneration in Sussex but we now have a lot to offer.

“In ten to 15 years it will become the go-to place for Sussex.

“In ten years we will not recognise the town.”