AWARD…..GREAT HONOUR! FABB was named the USA’S Best British Business Association 2010 by the UK’S Weekly Telegraph, reaching expatriates in 47 countries.
How the British Bureau of Florida started
In 1990 I was newly divorced and self-employed as a freelance business writer, because my prior job had been Vice-President of Marketing in my husband’s Ft. Lauderdale company. I had a home office, a Green Card and a creditcard. The problem was not my ability, since I had Florida business experience and qualifications and 2 university degrees, but identifying WHAT I could actually do. After executive job interviews, where American employers said being a British newcomer was against me, I decided the answer was to turn that problem into the solution. So I started the British Bureau of Florida, a British-American PR/Marketing business, working exclusively with and for Florida’s burgeoning British community. While this is a commercial business, my office does much pro-bono work, advising Brits in distress or sorting out their relocation issues, via my team of professionals in FABB.
THE WORK OF THE BRITISH BUREAU……….overview
New Horizons, a colour glossy published in the UK, invited me to write an article in March 2004 about the work of the British Bureau. Since it gives the best detailed overview, here it is: The British Bureau is a public relations/marketing business, focusing exclusively on the British community in Florida: English, Scottish, Welsh businesses or individuals. Established in 1991 by ex-Londoner Patricia Kawaja, it fulfills separate but interwoven roles: 1] Public relations/marketing work for clients needing to reach the British community in Florida for various reasons. 2] It functions as a resource for British expatriates, providing solutions to the problems of the many Florida expatriates who contact us with an endless variety of unique UK-US issues. 3] As the Florida Association of British Business office, serving our British professional/commercial members in all parts of Florida and the UK. 4] As the Florida office of Union Jack Newspaper, the national publication for the British community in the USA. 5] Envisioned and designed the website www.britishflorida.com as Florida’s only complete reference source to all things British. All the aforementioned have become my life’s work–helping and promoting the British community in Florida. I created the names and designed both the FABB and the British Bureau logos and concept. Have had scores of newspaper and magazine articles and TV programmes etc done about the British Bureau. In 1993 the Miami Herald headlined me as MISS BRIT in an article about my work. See CLIENTS and MEDIA page on this website for complete list.
► FABB [formed later in 1997] is part of the British Bureau.
REASONS TO JOIN FABB IN FLORIDA or UK 1] If you are a British professional or businessowner resident in Florida you benefit from joining FABB and having your Florida British business listed on this website. 2] UK Brits wishing to emigrate to Florida click on the green EMIGRATE menu on this website.
► Did you pay into a private UK company /private pension? [NOTE: This is not the British Government one –for that you have to write to Newcastle–see the address on the PENSIONS page on this website]. Access your lump sum now to spend in the USA! Find out how by contacting Mark Solomons, FABB’s pensions expert in based in Palm Beach, Florida. Call him on  793-1311 or send email to UKpensions@gmail.com. On subject line put: UK pension query. Include your name + Florida or USA city you live + phone.
► THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF BUSINESSES IN ALL PARTS OF FLORIDA owned or operated by expat British residents. Our list includes hotels, pubs, hairdressers, flight schools, insurance agencies, travel agents, retail/wholesale outlets, web-based and iT businesses and many more classifications–all run by Brits. This website can never list them all because Brits are opening new businesses, or closing, or returning to the UK. FABB members and others showcased on this website pay for that exposrure. British businessowners are not obliged to notify anybody, so tracking every new openings/closing is impossible. Website www.britishflorida.com is the only one to list current British businesses in Florida. Because we invest time and money to market this site heavily, any Florida British business with a presence on this site benefits.
► IN OUR DIRECTORY ARE MEMBERS OF FABB, British professionals in Florida or a business with a British owner or British-Florida Connection. The directory changes often and represents a small percentage of British businesses and entrepreneurs operating in Florida. Nobody else but the British Bureau maintains an in-office list of British-owned or run businesses in Florida. The British Consulate, which worked with FABB on some of its UK-USA missions prior to 2004, focuses primarily on UK companies with subsidiaries or branch offices in Florida and has a list of those. We market and promote this website on behalf of FABB members. All our members are British or Irish immigrants from the UK. Some are UK-based Brits who are planning to move to Florida and FABB is assisting and advising them on all their needs. We also have a few British members in Spain, Greece, South Africa, Dubia, France and the Caymans who are using our services to emigrate to Florida.
► FABB HISTORY The British community in Florida has become huge. About 400,000 Brits live here permanently or temporarily. I.4 million British tourists visit Florida every year. Since the late 1970’s, when the first Brits came over to Central Florida to see the newly-built Disney World, they have been flooding into the Sunshine State. Delighted by what they found, thousands settled here, started businesses, bought homes and spread throughout the State. The British Ambassador to the USA recently stated that 1 out of 40 Brits come to Florida from Britain each year. By the early 1990’s, Ft Lauderdale and Orlando had become the area where most Britons took up permanent residence . According to US Government 1990 Census Figures, Broward County had the most British-born residents. Small British- owned businesses all over Florida flourished. This was reflected in the many British pubs opening up across the state—-to serve the burgeoning British community. Brits must have their pub, wherever they live in the world! By 2003, Sarasota had developed a considerable British community. Brits have also settled in large numbers in Jacksonville and now in Miami…attracted by the Magic City’s international ambiance. When Patricia moved the FABB office [and her home] to Miami in 2002, the Miami Herald did several features on FABB and the British Bureau. But back to the beginning…..In August 1997 British-born attorney Michael Towner from Liverpool, and Londoner Patricia Kawaja, owner of the British Bureau of Florida, formed a partnership to launch FABB. Both were Ft Lauderdale residents, well-known and active in the South Florida British community. In July 1999 the partnership was amicably dissolved and Patricia runs FABB with her relocation team and professional associates. Mike remains a lifetime member and his early contribution was invaluable. Patricia Kawaja’s work with FABB and the British community has been featured in countless newspaper articles and TV programmes, here and in the UK. [See Media testimonials and work page on this website].
► FABB MEMBERSHIP INCLUDES Florida and UK members in all professions. [Explore the membership directory on topleft of this website]. Since early 2002, with the unprecedented demand from UK Brits to emigrate here, a major part of FABB’s work is now steering UK-Based Brits through the whole legal and business process of moving here. Our expert team offers superb and trusted relocation services. To reflect the times, since early 2006 FABB has become primarily internet-based, with few actual functions. Members gain more business via the FABB office and FABB website than by attending functions in person.
FABB is Florida’s only professional organisation assisting Brits before
and after their move to Florida.
Below [in black italics] was written for New Horizons Magazine March 2004 issue, at the publisher’s request. They wanted to feature my business in their magazine which reaches expat British readership in UK and Florida: The British Bureau is a public relations/marketing business, focusing exclusively on the British community in Florida: English, Scottish, Welsh businesses or individuals. Established in 1991 by ex-Londoner Patricia Kawaja, it fulfills three separate but interwoven roles: 1] As the Florida Association of British Business office. 2] As the Florida office of Union Jack Newspaper 3] Public/marketing relations work for clients needing to reach the British community in Florida for various reasons. The Bureau functions on many levels as a mini-British Consulate but broader scope, no staff and less money! A typical month is : An American woman engaged to a Jacksonville Brit phones me to get a real English wedding cake with marizipan. Another asks where she can hire a real red London bus to drive guests to the Sarasota reception. The British Consulate asks me to assist with British business contacts here for an incoming UK trade mission and give a presentaion about FABB. I interview English actress Jane Seymour for Union Jack Newspaper. I work with promoters Fantasma on publicising Rod Stewart’s Florida shows. I get media tickets for Elton John’s show at Miami’s American Airlines arena. I spend hours invoicing FABB members for annual renewal and Union Jack Newspaper Florida accounts. I write more pages for the Bureau’s hugely popular website www.BritishFlorida.com —–British businesses, British events and info for the Sunshine State. Through the British Bureau headhunting service I locate British staff for American employers. Or British contestants for a BBC show. In 1999, I was even asked by the top casting agent in Hollywood to help find a British boy in the USA to play Harry Potter. Mrs. Julio Iglesias once phoned me to find an English nanny for the singer’s children in Miami. I answer about 50 email enquiries a week from UK Brits trying to emigrate here, a further avalanche of queries like Brits needing their passport renewed, Americans asking how to emigrate to the UK or a myriad of other British matters. My Florida column for Union Jack Newspaper, focused on the activities of its 500,000 strong British community takes 5 hours of research and writing each month. I organise, promote and run the British Network and Business Card Exchange twice a month in Ft Lauderdale and Miami, for FABB members and guests and on the publicity it always states A ROOMFUL OF BRITS IS NEVER DULL. It’s true and boosts attendance no end! I create and send out the eBritNews to all the Brits in my database. Recent ones invited Brits to The British Invasion fundraiser in Palm Beach, the Beatles 40th anniversary tribute show in Boca plus a trade email for the British Consulate’s May 2004 Latin-American Conference . I work a 60 hour week by multi-tasking and working solo in my office with no interruptions.
How did the British Bureau start? In 1990 while writing the South Florida column for the now defunct Brit Magazine published in Kissimmee, I discovered the growing British comunity in Ft. Lauderdale. From this work, I perceived a need, a niche nobody was filling. I realised that other newcomer Brits needed help, would enjoy social and business events to network with other birds of a feather, need immigration advice and other services geared to expats.
This would become my life’s work—–helping and promoting the British community in Florida.
So I launched The British Bureau in 1991, creating the name and logo. It has been successful since day one. Scores of newspaper and magazine articles, TV programmes have since been written about my work with Florida’s British Community.
FABB Florida Association of British Business In August 1997, with British partner Mike Towner, I co-founded the Florida Association of British Business [FABB], designing our logo, name and mission statement. In July 1999 we dissolved [amicably] the partnership, and own and operate FABB alone. Am constantly swamped with applicants from UK, the numbers swelling every year as apparent dissatisfaction with life in Tony Blair’s changing UK grows. Creating its marketing slogan Helping Brits Make it in America, I built membership up from its original 20 to a current 450 with an associate network of thousands. FABB has members in every Florida city, the UK, France and Span. Every member is British except our American medical insurance agent. I work with UK-based Brits mainly to help them emigrate here and established a team of experts to steer them through the whole arduous, expensive and obstacle-fraught process. FABB also assists British professionals already resident in Florida, organises meetings and events for them and markets their businesses. We have British members and buisnessowners in all professions, as you’ll see by browsing through the FABB online directory on www.BritishFlorida.com I have so many testimonials from thankful Brits, which I have started to archive to eventually put on website. Those are what makes this infinite work worthwhile. My favourite, framed on my office wall: November 3, 1996 Ft. Lauderdale. Indian man phones me. HE: Patricia please. Oh hallo. I’m a cricket fan. I just called the BBC in Miami , to ask how I could tune in my satellite dish to get their cricket test match. The BBC told me: Call Patricia Kawaja. She knows everything.
THE BRITISH BUREAU Marketing services. The Bureau can access the British community for you, for marketing, publicity services or employment headhunting services,since it has the largest British contacts database in Florida. Sticking to my credo of Helping Brits make it in America, the British Bureau uses only British businesses and outsources work and jobleads only to British professionals and FABB members. I work with the British Consulate in Miami, am a local resource for them on UK trade missions, information and sundry matters they refer to me. Many Brits call the British Consulate on matters beyond their brief and Consulate staff get them out of their hair by forwarding those requests to me, including the occasional nutty Brit! People from all over Florida are referred to me if their problem has a British thread. Nothing has stumped me, especially when their call starts with “You are my last resort…” This week’s example: Executive chef of an exclusive private island resort phoned me to find out where he can obtain a specific gourmet haggis for some visiting VIP Scotsmen flying in from Canada for a major lavish celebration. I sourced everything Scottish he needed for his event.
Website www.BritishFlorida.com. I created, designed and launched this in June 2003 to provide a central reference source for the British Bureau and provide a membership directory for FABB members. I write and edit the whole website, which FABB’s British webmaster maintains..
UNION JACK NEWSPAPER , established in 1982 by two brothers from Manchester, is published in California, printed in California and Florida and has 250,000 British and Anglophile readers in all 50 States, the UK and Canada. Since joining their team in November 1992, I manage everything in Florida: write the Florida British column, handle all the advertising accounts [ including copywriting and design, since most small business Florida accounts don’t emply an ad agency], compile the Florida circulation list and promote the paper at British functions and trade shows around Florida. I send all Florida editorial and advertising layouts in to Head Office in San Diego for production.
[ Sadly, the Union Jack Newspaper ceased business in July 2016].
My work has been featured in countless articles and TV shows and I have been approached by Brits in other states to start FABB clones, from Minnesota to Missouri. Indeed the business model created for FABB in 1997 could be copied in the other 49 states by licensing FABB satellite offices run by local Brits. Building this empire would make me very wealthy. But frankly I’d rather fall in love and run away with the man of my dreams. END OF 2004 HORIZONS MAGAZINE ARTICLE
►►► Did you pay into a private UK company /private pension? [NOTE: This is not the British Government one –for that you have to write to Newcastle–see the address on the PENSIONS page on this website]. Access your lump sum now to spend in the USA! Find out how by contacting Mark Solomons, FABB’s pensions expert in based in Palm Beach, Florida. Call him on  793-1311 or send email to UKpensions@gmail.com. On subject line put: UK pension query. Include your name + city you live + phone.