By WILLIAM TELFORD business Editor @WTelfordHerald

James Parsons and Richard SinclairJames Parsons and Richard Sinclair

 ENGLISHMAN James Parsons came to Leipzig in 1996 for a year and ended up staying – but he’s baffled why more people don’t do business in the city.

Mr Parsons started his language school ICC Sprachinstitut just a year after relocating.

Originally from Southampton, he loves the East German city – but is mystified why more businesses, including British ones, don’t work with it.

This is despite the efforts of organisations such as Invest Region Leipzig, the city’s development company, and the fact that English is seen as the language of business by German firms.

“Fifty per cent of West Germans have never been to the East,” he said. “That’s incredible. Their expectations of places like Leipzig are incredibly low, but when they come here they are amazed.

“A lot of people come here, like it and stay. That’s true for business too.

“Leipzig tops the satisfaction index – 95 per cent of people think it’s a great place, the future is bright.”

Mr Parsons said that “through globalisation” every company needs English in some form, which is why ICC is thriving.

He explained English is in demand among German businesses and he would like to link with firms in Plymouth to provide work experience for staff. He’s already run similar schemes in Malta and Majorca and said: “I’d like to bring this over to Plymouth, to a language school, and then work experience.”

Mr Parsons moved to Leipzig for personal reasons and decided to stay for business ones. “I realised language schools were not really doing it that well,” he said. “I had no business background but thought I’d try it myself.”

He started ICC with just four “housewives” working for him, one of whom is still employed. Now the company has a 750,000-euro annual turnover and a staff of about 80.

He said “90 per cent” of his work is teaching English to Germans, particularly businesses.

His clients include Leipzig’s major employers and names, such as Porsche, BMW, DHL, Deutsche Bank, and football team RB Leipzig.

“Our teachers are native speakers, with a degree and at least two years’ experience before they start with us.”

Mr Parsons’ latest move is, alongside another British businessman Richard Sinclair, the launch of Business Dice – dice with business themed icons designed to practice the business skills of presenting, small talk, meetings, telephoning and negotiating.

Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Plymouth-Leipzig-Germans-English-language/story-21346285-detail/story.html#ixzz3742of9yM
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