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Towards Better Support for French Entrepreneurs in 2013

In 2013, the spotlight is on innovation and entrepreneurship. The plan that has been put in place by Minister Fleur Pellerin will stimulate these two pillars of growth as long as it succeeds in restoring confidence among entrepreneurs and giving them better support during the business start-up process.

Infographie entrepreneurs en France par Eric Ingargiola sur générations entrepreneurs

Graphic of entrepreneurs in France by Eric
Ingargiola on Générations Entrepreneurs

The Minister Delegate attached to the Minister for Economic Regeneration, with responsibility for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Innovation, and the Digital Economy, stated in the programme that she announced to the Senate in July 2012, that she wanted to give priority to supporting SMEs, improving the fiscal and administrative environment of businesses, and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit.

She also emphasised the second part of this programme, innovation [Fr]. Innovation needed to be more firmly rooted in the territory, and action needed to be taken to finance it,  to provide better funding for the innovation chain and to promote and disseminate the innovation culture in parallel with entrepreneurship.

2013 is the time for taking practical steps. But before putting the tools in place, it was important to listen to what entrepreneurs had to say, so that the measures matched their needs as closely as possible. For this purpose, the Entrepreneurship Conference [Fr] was launched.

Frédérique Clavel, new President of APCE, (the French business start-up agency), who is leading this Conference's working groups, spoke of the need: [Fr]

Rétablir un dialogue sans biais entre les entrepreneurs et le gouvernement. Les Assises ont été lancées le 14 janvier par Fleur Pellerin et mandatées par l’ensemble des ministères, sous la tutelle de Jean Marc Ayrault. L’état d’esprit est d’entendre ce que les entrepreneurs ont à dire pour améliorer leurs conditions d’entrepreneur

To restore an unbiased dialogue between entrepreneurs and the government. The Conference was launched on 14 January by Fleur Pellerin and mandated by all departments, under the supervision of Jean Marc Ayrault. The idea is to hear what entrepreneurs have to say so that their conditions as entrepreneurs can be improved

Although it is still too early to form a clear picture of this Conference, the president expects the different working groups to send back proposals for concrete, feasible measures. This optimism offsets the mixed conclusions of the Court of Auditors’ last report, which criticises the lack of clarity with regard to start-up help and the APCE's unimpressive figures. According to that agency, the proportion of entrepreneurs receiving support is still too low today (39%).

Frédérique Clavel continues to put forward proposals for providing assistance for business start-ups: [Fr]

on parle de la création d’un Passeport Entrepreneur. Au-delà des mots, il serait bon de créer un outil pour guider le créateur, pourquoi pas un tag, un logiciel : peu importe l’outil, du moment qu’il facilite la vie des entrepreneurs !

there is talk of creating an Entrepreneur's Passport. Over and above mere words, it would be good to create a tool to guide the new entrepreneur, perhaps a tag, or a piece of software: it doesn't matter what the tool is, as long as it makes life easier for entrepreneurs! 

(Video of
the interview with Fréderique Clavel at the Salon des Entrepreneurs)

For their part, business managers have joined forces to stimulate innovation. In his blog, Générations Entrepreneurs, Eric Ingargiola describes the current state [Fr] of entrepreneurship and job creation:

95 % des entreprises créées n’ont aucun salarié ; ceci s’explique en partie par la part importante des nouveaux auto-entrepreneurs (56%). Cependant, même hors auto-entreprises, seules 12% des nouvelles entreprises emploient un ou des salariés. Ces entreprises employeurs ont en moyenne 2,9 salariés.

95% of start-up companies have no paid employees; this is partly due to the high proportion of new self-employed entrepreneurs (56%). However, even excluding self-employed businesses, only 12% of new businesses have one or more paid employees. These employer businesses have an average of 2.9 paid workers.

The Réseau Entreprendre, the national business manager network, has been supporting project initiators since it was set up 27 years ago. In 2007, this network set up the InnoTec programme, which has enabled 115 innovative new businesses to be funded. The firm KPMG [Fr] became involved with the programme in 2013
as part of its advisory and support activities for innovative projects.

In particular, KPMG specialists in the “Technology growth companies” network will have to prepare an assessment of the projects selected by the 47 Réseau Entreprendre (business start-up network) organisations. Events for innovative businesses will be organised in various regions to discuss good practices regarding financing and developing innovative projects.

For president of Réseau Entreprendre's InnoTech programme [Fr] Pierre Violo:

Ce partenariat est un vrai plus pour nos entrepreneurs dans leur parcours au sein de nos associations. Le métier de conseil de KPMG est tout à fait complémentaire à l’œuvre d’accompagnement de Réseau Entreprendre.

This partnership is a real bonus for our entrepreneurs throughout their career within our organisations. The KPMG consultancy role fully complements Réseau Entreprendre's support work.

It is hoped that the groundwork carried out at the Entrepreneurship Conference will give rise to some solid opportunities for the improvement of conditions for entrepreneurs. The combined activities of the government and business managers should allow them to regain the confidence they have lost.

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