Europe day : the European Union support for France Active is a lever for action towards a more inclusive and sustainable economy

The European Union support is crucial for the social economy, which is a sector with a high employment and inclusive growth potential. France Active believes that the local and regional levels have an important role to play in the development of the sector, taking into account the specificities and opportunities of each territory.
On Europe Day, France Active would like to thank its European partners for their steady commitment for social economy. Thanks to their support, through the European program for employment and social innovation and the structural funds for instance, France Active has been able to develop initiatives, which aim to support young entrepreneurs, evaluate the impact of social enterprises, and develop the whole ecosystem. Read about their experiences.

Europe Day, they talk about France Active

Brigitte Fellahi-Brognaux

Head of Unit DG EMPL – European Commission

“For many years, the EU has been mobilizing its funds to support France Active in the service social economy. Its dynamic and global approach to support social entreprises as well as the scope and diversity of its methods of action stands out. In the past, the European structural funds, as well as the European program for social innovation, have supported France Active Garantie and initiatives such as Cap’Jeunes, to support young entrepreneurs, as well as VISES, which develops an impact assessment approach adapted to the specificities of social enterprises, and IMPACT +, which aims to develop support for the entire ecosystem.

These programs are in line with the European strategy to support the social economy, a sector that creates jobs and an inclusive and sustainable growth, which yet remains underestimated in many EU Member States.

We share France Active’s conviction that the local and regional levels have an essential role to play in the development of the sector, which is so diverse from one Member State to another and according to the economic sectors covered. The social economy can only develop by considering the particularities and opportunities of each territory, as shown by the work of the regional associations of the France Active network. Moreover, France Active’s commitments in favor of new entrepreneurs or the ecological transition are perfectly in line with the priorities of the European Action Plan for the Social Economy adopted in 2021. Our common goal is to put people and the planet before profit, for a sustainable and fair transition.

All in all, the France Active network sets an example in the financial support ecosystem through its ability to provideds the socially committed enterprises with the financial as well as non-financial support that is best suited to their needs at different stages of a company’s life cycle.

As we seek today to fill the persistent gap between supply and demand of repayable financing for social enterprises in Europe, France Active is a source of inspiration to improve the financial products and programs offered in and by the European Union.”

Antoine Fleuret
Public partnerships and European development officer – France Active

“The European funds have been funding and innovation levers for the France Active network for many years.

The European Social Fund, among others, has enabled to support, to connect and to fund an increased number of entrepreneurs far from the banking system (job seekers, recipients of minimum social benefits, young people under 26, women, etc.) as well as social enterprises. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), for their part, have strengthened financial instruments towards socially committed entrepreneurs. Finally, the European Commission programs have made it possible to implement experimentations to enhance the France Active tools dedicated to specific stages of social enterprises’ lifecyle (seed or scaling up for instance).

For all these reasons, as well as for their role in structuring and professionalizing the France Active network or for their incentive character with other European, national and local funders, European funds are essential. ”

Julien Mollis
Head of the « Faire Mouvement » department – France Active Centre Val de Loire

“Social impact is at the heart of the challenges that the social enterprises are facing. The European Union has funded implementation of the VISES project with the support of the France – Wallonie – Vlanderen INTERREG program. This enables us now to develop a reproducible method of evaluating this impact.

After a launch in 2020 in the Centre-Val de Loire French region, we were able to support 3 groups in this process and thus demonstrate that social enterprises have a very large and essential impact in their ecosystem. We thus enable them to seize their evaluation and enter into a process of continuous improvement of this social impact.”

Emmanuel de Carayon

Co-founder – Fratries

“Our project was made possible thanks to the support of France Active which offered us a European funding that allowed us to launch our first house in Nantes”.

Aurélien and Emmanuel de Carayon launched Fratries, which develops innovative shared housing: modern houses, in the heart of cities, in which young working people, with or without disabilities, live together. The first house was built in Nantes in 2022, two others will open their doors this year in Rennes (35) and Colombes (92) and other projects are underway in other French cities.

This social enterprise was financed by France Active Bretagne via a bank loan guarantee and an investment, both covered by the European Investment Fund (EIF)

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Appeal by Claude Alphandéry – Economy: increasing social cooperation across France

On the occasion of his 100th birthday, Claude Alphandéry, resistance fighter, visionary of the social and solidarity economy and founder of France Active, launches an appeal to accelerate the transformation of our economy so that it becomes fundamentally more social, more inclusive and more sustainable. An appeal that invites citizens, key players in the social economy, local authorities, associations and social entrepreneurs to create spaces for solidarity-based cooperation across all the regions of France.
These one hundred years of life give me the opportunity and the desire to reflect on the war years and the present. In 1940, when I was less than 20 years old, I experienced the unprecedented collapse of my country, a radical defeat, a relentless repression. Recent years have been more insidious, apparently less dramatic. However, they are no less cruelly destructive through the effects of ecological, economic and social crises.

Resistance has twice responded to these disasters. In 1940, in the face of peril, a Resistance, at first disorganised, then gaining in strength with the maquis, contributed to victory and participated in the construction of a social democracy through the CNR programme. Today, resistance has moved to the economic front. We must repair the deleterious effects of a global economy engaged in unbridled competition for unlimited financial profits, whatever the cost to humanity and nature.

In both cases, in the midst of mortal perils, renewal emerges, yesterday those astonishing maquis, and in the present day, the surprising social, solidarity-based, sustainable start-ups.

France Active supports them and accompanies their initiatives; these are multiplying, repairing flagrant ills, but remain all too occasional and too fragmented to create a powerful movement, an economic model, to garner much opinion. Many entrepreneurs themselves, proud of their social and environmental action, sometimes doubt their political impact in the face of multinational billions.

Promising experiences
Nevertheless, there are more examples of more advanced experiences of cooperation; these are often carried out by the entrepreneurs supported by France Active; they in turn wish to impart a broader sense of solidarity to life: give and you will receive. They open up avenues and progress towards more complex and systematic cooperation.

All these experiences of cooperation invite us to progress from very worthy, but isolated and marginal resistance to profound transformations that allow these experiences to develop, accelerate and perpetuate. I see it as a way of inscribing field practices, this essential praxis, into a broader vision, the ethical imagination of a future respecting humanity and nature.This ethic, however, is not easily assumed: it is thwarted by the interplay of contradictory situations, interests and behaviours that blur and darken the vision of the future. Many are reluctant to identify with an ideal that seems distant and that the dominant ideology describes as utopian, as powerless in the face of a reality controlled by finance.

But where does this powerlessness lie? It lies among those who, out of greed for profit, persist in ignoring the disaster that has been foretold, in looking the other way. Conversely, entrepreneurs who strengthen their bonds of solidarity and mutual trust through their collective intelligence and inventiveness are powerful levers of prosperity.

This effort to bring people together is not an isolated approach; indeed, it is encouraged and facilitated by many local and regional authorities, which support numerous solidarity initiatives and include them in a vision of solidarity development for their region; it is also supported by public, private and mixed groups such as the Pacte du Pouvoir de Vivre.

To increase the chances and scope of their cooperation, it seems desirable to encourage and help them to form clubs, embassies of cooperation, in their region; these are places where people get to know each other, exchange ideas and practices, and affirm values and their concept of society and the economy.

Nearly eighty years ago, I created some of these clubs in the maquis, drawing on the history of the Republican clubs. There they learned about democracy. Today, when the progress stemming from Resistance is being challenged, we need these clubs to strengthen our bonds of solidarity and cooperation.

They must be facilitating, supportive entities that help to identify, contact and mobilise all the physical or moral, private or public forces whose mission is to publicise, support, finance and accompany the development of cooperative ventures, to specify their purpose, their projects, their means and to be clear about their difficulties.

In the name of my one hundred years of passion for everything that solidarity means and entails, I therefore launch an appeal to multiply and further these clubs, these places of cooperation. I call for the creation of at least one hundred clubs in the next two years across all of France. I know that I can count on France Active and all stakeholders in the social economy to work together to amplify all these positive cooperative ventures that create social links and make the world of tomorrow a desirable place to be.

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For a Europe of solidarity on territories – the inspirational speech of Claude Alphandéry, the honorary President of France Active

Claude Alphandéry, Honorary President & Founder of France Active, celebrated his 100th birthday on 27th November 2022. The resistance fighter and visionary of social economy took this opportunity to call for new cooperation to accelerate the transformation towards a more social, more inclusive, and more sustainable economy.In this video recorded few months before his birthday as France was holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union, the staunch European shares his view of the social dimension of the European Union. In his opinion, the economical Europe is what made the faster step forward during the past ten years, especially regarding markets opening and competition between member States. He also thinks that the cultural dimension of Europe has spread well as well as the education, thanks to the very useful Erasmus programme. However, little has been made regarding the social dimension of Europe, especially on solidarity and the relationships between people in everyday life as well as in working life.Recovery is a good opportunity to “embed the social utility in the economic activity”. With the support of the European Investment Bank, all the member states should be able to give priority to solidarity-based investments. Moreover, it’s important to give a greater place to the territories to push the Europe of solidarity forward. According to Claude Alphandéry, there are many initiatives throughout Europe that can be shared to inspire stakeholders on the field. This can be seen through the growth of the Third Place, or the development of a global approach to health care in living areas, short circuits, etc.All these approaches must be developed and generalised to all European countries: each territory has the power to make Europe more social and more united.

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Solidarity-based savings: 44% of the French declare their willingness to use them

Through a survey conducted with OpinonWay, France Active wanted to sound the French out about savings, in particular solidarity-based saving and its potential to transform the society. The French consider solidarity-based savings as a sustainable solution to address major societal challenges: environmentalism, social link, job creation. Here are the highlights of this study carried out on a representative sample of 1,000 French people.

The goals of the study
How do French people plan to save in 2023? Are they aware of the potential of solidarity-based savings? What are the prior issues that these savings should finance? These are the main questions raised by the OpinionWay survey for France Active. It also underlines that 7 out of 10 French people have an insufficient level of information on solidarity-based savings and on the possibilities to access them.

French people are keen to invest via solidarity-based savings

Despite the current economic context, almost one in two French people would like to save at least as much as in 2022. Among them, a third are young people (18 – 34 years old). What projects should the savings be directed towards? One in four of them answered that their savings should be directed towards solidarity-based projects. Two major issues are particularly important for them: projects promoting employment and social links (40%) and those responding to environmental challenges (32%).

Patient finance

44% of French people are ready to invest in solidarity-based savings projects for which the return is in the medium or long term. This figure rises to 56% among young people (18 – 34 years old).

A total lack of information on solidarity-based savings

Finally, whether it is the actors who use the savings, the profitability of these savings, the solidarity-based savings products, the way in which the savings are invested or the projects to which these savings are committed… 7 out of 10 French people feel that they are not sufficiently informed on the subject.


The study
(available only in french)

“Les Français et l’épargne solidaire”

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Europe commits for sustainable and inclusive entrepreneurship in France


The European

Investment FUND

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is a member of the EIB group (European Bank of Investment), whose objective is to strengthen Europe’s potential in terms of growth and employment.

To do so, it relies on national intermediaries which develop financial instruments in Member States. As such, France Active is a key partner of the EIF in France. Their partnership is based on 2 contracts: one for the guarantee of the solidarity loans granted by France Active Investissement under the EaSI (Employment and Social Innovation) program, the other for the counter-guarantee of the guarantees provided by France Active Garantie to facilitate access to financing for entrepreneurs in fragile situations under the COSME program (Competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises).

France Active is now applying to renew these contracts under the new program : InvestEU.


Europe day: social economy in the headlines

On May 9th, the European Union is celebrating Europe Day. Every year, France Active takes this opportunity to highlight its cooperation with the EU towards a more inclusive and sustainable economy. This year, France Active took part in the European event in Strasbourg.

Entrepreneurs, networks, institutions, investors: all the European social economy stakeholders have met on May 5th and 6th, 2022 in Strasbourg during the event: “Social economy, the future of Europe”. Co-organized by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the French State Secretariat for the social, solidarity-based and responsible economy, the city and Eurometropolis of Strasbourg, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions, this event rose awareness of the social economy.France Active has organized there a conference entitled “Public, private and citizen investors: how to accelerate in cooperation the impact of the social economy on the territories?”. The discussions led by Florence Rémy, director of France Active Alsace, illustrated the mobilization of public and private investors from European to local level to finance social enterprises. Pierre René Lemas, President of France Active; Pia Imbs, President of the Strasbourg Eurometropolis; Roger Havenith, Deputy Managing Director of the European Investment Fund; Denis Dementhon, CEO of France Active, Bruno Dunkel, General Manager of Inpulse; Jean Ruch, Co-director of Familles Solidaires and Judith Fischer, CEO of Discovia shared their vision on multi-partner cooperation in favour of the social economy and territories. Together, they emphasized the relevance of social economy to address territorial challenges: creation of new jobs which are not at risk of relocation and gateways to employment for those who are furthest away from it, social services, mobility issues or new regional planning, circular economy, or ecological transition.According to Pia Imbs, the development of the social economy within the Strasbourg Eurometropolis is a priority: “we’ve become aware that the social economy is the most perennial. That’s why we created a network with the local enterprises: the Pact for a local and sustainable economy”. The word of the representatives of the European Union was also expected. According to Roger Havenith, Deputy Managing Director of the European Investment Fund, “the social economy is fully part of the mandate of the EIF. Thanks to the new InvestEU programme, we will take a real leap forward. Indeed, the social dimension of our action is now a pillar, which has its own objectives and indicators to monitor this collective action”. As for Pierre-René Lemas, he underlined the usefulness of the cooperation in which France Active places its action: “The territories are in our DNA. For more than 30 years, we have been convinced that the economy is built by and for the territories, where all possible forms of solidarity are exercised”.Thanks to the momentum created by this event and within the implementation of the European action plan for the social economy of the European Commission, France Active continues more than ever its commitment to make the social economy the future of Europe.

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France Active at the « Social economy, the future of Europe » event

All the European social economy stakeholders will meet on May 5 and 6, 2022 in Strasbourg during an event co-organized by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the French State Secretariat for the Social, Solidarity and responsible, the city and Euro metropolis of Strasbourg, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions. This event is a unique opportunity to meet and work together for the development and recognition of the social economy within the European Union.
France Active will organize there a conference entitled “Public, private and citizen investors: how to accelerate in cooperation the impact of the social economy on the territories?”. The goal is to promote multi-partner cooperation, from European to local level, in favor of consulting and investment solutions for better social and ecological impact.
The following speakers will take part in this conference hosted by Florence Rémy, Director of France Active Alsace on May 5 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.:

  • Pierre René Lemas, President of France Active
  • Pia Imbs, President of the Strasbourg Eurometropolis
  • Roger Havenith, Deputy Managing Director of the European Investment Fund
  • Philippe Zaouati, Managing Director of Mirova
  • Bruno Dunkel, General Manager of Inpulse,
  • Bernadette Paul-Cornu, Co-director of Familles Solidaires
  • Judith Fischer, CEO of Discovia

Consult the program and register

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The Creation Pact to facilitate business creation

Helping entrepreneur make their projects feasible & secure by financing start-up

Because we are convinced that business creation is not only for those who graduate from great school and for those who benefit from the support of their relatives, France Active has decided to reinforce its action of support & financing of business creation for those who are the most distant from it.

Creation Pact

Today, France Active announce the reinforcement of its Creation Pact for people in professional integration situations. It is particularly aimed at young people, those without jobs or training, those from disadvantage districts or even those who come from isolated rural areas, in the context of the call for proposals initiated by the Ministry of Labour, Employment & Integration. The reinforcement of the Creation Pact also aims to provide increased support to those who encounter difficulties in the creation of their structure. Any person with a business creation project or any person for whom such a project may be a good solution to achieve a professional project, can pretend to:

  • Financing solutions & guarantee from France Active;
  • A Creation Pact strengthened on 3 axes: Financial pedagogy, protection & securing and digital awareness;
  • A €3 000 financial aid to facilitate the start-up of their project (if all the eligibility conditions are met).

This reinforced support towards entrepreneurs has been possible thanks to the Inclusion through self-employment’s call for proposals by the Ministry of Labour, Employment & Integration. France Active and its 35 regional associations will support until the end of December 2022, 4 000 entrepreneurs in their creation stage.

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The UrgencESS fund, which has helped nearly 5,000 small associations to cope with the crisis, has reached its target

In January 2021, Olivia Grégoire, Secretary of State to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, in charge of the Social, Solidarity and Responsible Economy, mobilized an emergency fund of 30 million euros for social and solidarity economy (SSE) structures with fewer than 10 employees, hit by the crisis. This financial aid, ranging from 5,000 euros for structures with 1 to 3 employees to 8,000 euros for structures with 4 to 10 employees, has helped 4,866 structures experiencing economic difficulties related to the current turmoil, most of which are associations. The impact on job preservation is concrete: thanks to this support, nearly 16,000 jobs have been saved. Deployed by France Active and its 35 associations, UrgencESS has made it possible, in addition to financial aid, to support solidarity structures in maintaining their activity. They benefited from a diagnosis of their economic situation and received advice to help them find new financing solutions, notably thanks to the measures deployed within the framework of France Relance.Some of them also received support from the operation’s partners, such as the network of Local Support Facilities (DLA) or KissKissBankBank, the pioneer of participatory financing which belongs to the La Poste Group.

Olivia Grégoire

Secretary of State for the Social, Solidarity and Responsible Economy

The structures that we have been able to support through the crisis are better equipped to engage in the recovery, which concerns all economic actors in the country. We must now continue our policy of supporting SSE companies by developing new sustainable financing compatible with the solidarity dimension they carry on a daily basis.

Pierre-René Lemas

President of France Active

With UrgencESS, we have been able to provide a more than tangible response to associations as well as to companies fully mobilized on the development of social ties, culture or ecology. And we have also enabled them to think about their model for rebounding from the crisis and to project themselves into a fully supportive recovery.

Here are a few examples of structures
which benefitted from Urgencess

Solikend – Innovating for a local, off-season and solidarity tourism
Pyrénées Atlantiques

Solikend is an innovative project in the hotel industry in favor of the associative world, built on a unique hybrid economic model on the territory. Yoann Magnin, the creator, wishes to deploy the first solidarity reservation via a unique platform that references the “citizen hotels in New Aquitaine” and gives a part of the money as donations for the associations. This online reservation service for associations is based on several principles: a system for rapid use of donations, a system designed in the interest of off-season tourism players and a price modulation (between 75 and 125%) allowing different user profiles to participate in the collection of donations. With 7 jobs created in 2021, the structure could not afford to slow down its development with the pandemic: the UrgencESS bonus allowed them to stay the course and initiate a new phase of development of solidarity tourism in the Basque Country.

Triporteur à cartouches – Recycle your printer cartridges in Hauts-de-France !

The association of the Cartridge Carriers, known as “TAC”, was born in 2011 under the impulse of 3 people, with the objective of raising awareness of the general public to the environment and eco-citizenship. Based on the observation that many printing wastes are still thrown away in the common household waste, TAC organizes collections of used printing cartridges in Hauts-de-France from companies, associations, communities and individuals to recycle them. Very committed to the ecological niche, it carries out these collections in soft mobility with a three-wheeler in the city of Lille and in electric vehicles outside the city. Thanks to the latter, the association conveys the image and the concept to the general public. Weakened by the crisis, the structure benefited from an UrgencESS bonus of 5000 euros in April.

In the 19th district – A Chacun ses vacances

Located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, A Chacun Ses Vacances is an association that offers leisure activities and stays for people with mental disabilities, regardless of the type and degree of mental disability, without discrimination. The association works with small groups: it always proposes activities or stays with less than 10 members. The supervision goes from 1 leader for 1 member to 1 leader for 3 members maximum. It offers regular activities : tennis, horseback riding, workshops and visits, and evening outings (restaurant, concert, bowling).
Like all tourist activities, A Chacun Ses Vacances has seen the pandemic shake its cash flow and benefited in June from the UrgencEss scheme to secure its jobs.

Tibert éditions : In Allier, illustrated books, a spirit of collection

Since 2016, Tibert Editions is dedicated to the rediscovery of beautiful illustrated books. Working on the entire chain of the book, the structure aims to revalue the craft of publishing and the beauty of the book as an object. The confinement, the closing of bookshops and the primacy of certain large stores for the sale of books has raised many fears for Tibert éditions which had never known a cash flow problem. The UrgencEss bonus came to secure the cash flow in April to allow the structure to hold on before the reopening.

Sitaphy: integration of the disabled in the Yonne.

Since 2002, the Sitaphy association has been developing a manufacturing activity for wooden medieval toys designed to promote the social and professional integration of disabled workers within an Integration Workshop (ACI). It produces nearly 40,000 pieces per year, in a sustainable development approach using only local wood. Very much rooted in its Burgundian territory, the structure sees its role as an actor of social cohesion recognized in the local integration networks. It contributes to the collective approaches of the ACI in the Yonne, runs various workshops and has established various partnerships with structures in the field of disability. Sitaphy received an UrgencESS bonus last May at the height of the crisis.

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