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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2020-2021 Integrated report – Make the economy of connection living: everywhere, by & for everyone


The economy can create ties. What if strengthening social ties became the new horizon of a committed economy ?

Searching for social utility, integrating the impacts generated by the activity, making virtuous consumption choices, etc : this is how citizens, entrepreneurs and consumers are building our economic and social model together.

Because we are convinced that committed entrepreneurs play a decisive role in major social transformations, we are committed to working alongside them to create an economy that responds to everyone’s needs.

While our priority is the inclusion of all, we particularly support those who engage with others to ensure that we achieve these transformations. Our choices of funding and investment show it. In the same way, we work to integrate all those who are far from the economic circuits by securing their paths. This is what we aim to do through our guarantee, our consulting and networking services.


Supporting committed entrepreneurs starts with encouraging their commitment.

We systematically integrate ecological & social issues in the impact research of a company, and we give a special place to the preservation of social ties in our financing choices, hence the large presence of territorial issues in our approach.
Every single project brings a new lesson and is an opportunity to improve our model. We propose 5 types of offers adapted to the different stages of a company’s life to meet their specific needs and remain connected to their social utility mission. Following the current crisis, we have developed our “Rebound Pacte”, adjusting our offer to the specific needs of the entrepreneurs in difficulty. We made improvements such as the creation of a solidarity recovery loan, which has helped more than 600 companies in their recovery in 2020.

“We had the biggest construction site of our history, but the COVID has rescheduled our works. It has unstructured our cashflow, our stock… We were exposed to a financial risk that we managed thanks to the solidarity-recovery loan. We were in position to turn around serenely”.
Vincent Paret – Director of Oasure, which has maintained its 11 jobs during the crisis.


Securing access to funding to people who are far from the bank system has never been more useful than during this period of crisis. If this time is exceptional, so is our mobilization.

This mobilization has been strengthened in line with its objective: to create a sustainable, collective and a solidarity-based economic model through the commitment and transformation of society. Our work with all our partners in support of entrepreneurship is part of this cooperative approach. To develop social ties, the two priority axes are the support of inclusive and solidarity-based companies and the targeting of our publics.

Reintegration in the economic circuit is crucial in the fight against exclusion. Integration structures has been innovating for many years on the subject and offer solutions to revive social ties thanks to the integration of people furthest from the labor market such as : citizen who create projects in fragile territories, long-term unemployed, women entrepreneurs knowing difficulties to access funding, young entrepreneurs…

In 2020, our action definitively targeted creators in need. 42% of the projects supported were led by people in very precarious situations, including 23% of long-term unemployed or job seekers, 27% were in fragile territories, 30% of the creators were under 30 years-old and 55% had a high-school degree or less.

>Supporting women entrepreneurship

France Active & Bpifrance investigated the issue of women entrepreneurship through a survey conducted among 1023 persons and led by OpinionWay.

This survey confirmed the validity of the two organizations’ actions towards women, who are particularly confronted with difficulties in accessing financing. For those who do not feel able to start their business, social categories have a profound impact. For example, 77% of women surveyed in lower income categories, do not feel able to start their own business, compared to 61% among women in more affluent brackets.

>>Crisis support measures

France Active has quickly deployed measures to help entrepreneurs facing up the crisis thanks to concrete solutions to anticipate the relaunch of their activity.

As part of the specific solutions designed to face the crisis and prepare for the recovery, France Active has:

  • Rescheduled guarantees and loans in collaboration with national & regional public bodies;
  • Reinforced its Rebound Pacte with the solidarity-recovery loan, a €30 million-fund tool specially created for the COVID crisis, offering free loans up to €100 000 for entrepreneurs facing difficulties;
  • The social and solidarity bonus created in 2020 has been strengthened and replaced in 2021 by UrgencESS, a special fund targeting small Social and Solidarity-based organizations (1 to 10 employees) funded by the French State Secretariat of social, solidarity-based and responsible economy and deployed by France Active.

Notable fact: In 2020, 14% of our activity was focused on this rebound stage against 3% in 2019.

In figures:

  • 1 500 organizations have benefited from the solidarity-based recovery program, including 500 from the new solidarity-recovery loan;
  • Around 1 000 small organizations’ request covered in 2020 thanks to the social and solidary bonus, an ambitious objective of 5 000 with UrgencESS;
  • 49% of the activity on the rebound stage.

“Against the crisis, it was necessary to respond to the emergency and prepare the next step. Working collectively, supporting financially & being as close as possible to entrepreneurs: that’s what France Active knows how to do, it’s why we joined the solidarity-based recovery program.” Axelle Davenzac, Director of “Fondation de France”.

En savoir plus

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Meeting with Claude Alphandéry, honorary president and founder of France Active

On the occasion of the release of France Active’s new strategic plan, Claude Alphandéry, Honorary President and founder of France Active, looks back at the creation of the organization. He recalls the fundamental principles laid down at the time of its creation, as well as the evolution of France Active’s scope of action, adapting to the evolution of society and need.

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France Active at the Europan Social Economy Summit in may : Save the date !


France Active will host 2 online sessions alongside European stakeholders on May 27th at the European Social Economy Summit.

The European Social Economy Summit (EUSES) is a jointly organized digital conference by the European Commission and the City of Mannheim. The conference aims at strengthening the social economy in Europe and harness its contribution to economic development, social inclusion as well as green and digital transitions.

> a 90-minute session on promoting the way in which multi-stakeholder collaboration allows social finance to meet the needs of social enterprises, alongside:

  • Center for Social Investment (CSI), Germany
    Center for Social Investment is a multi-disciplinary research center attached to Heidelberg University.
  • Finansol, France
    Finansol is the French network of actors involved in solidarity-based finance.
  • Inpulse, Belgium, Poland and France
    Inpulse is an investment manager with special know-how on social investments and microfinance based in Belgium, Poland and France active throughout Europe and the MENA region.
  • Socialni Inovatori, Slovakia
    Socialni Inovatori is a private Slovakian social bank investing in social entrepreneurship and social innovation.

This session aims at promoting the way in which multi-stakeholder collaboration allows social finance to meet the needs of social enterprises. In bringing together investors, citizens, national and European public authorities and social enterprises, social finance represents a model of cooperation around a common goal: fulfilling the SDGs through social entrepreneurship.

> a 90-minute session on how Europe can boost the replication of social innovations on territories, alongside : 

  • Ashoka Impact Transfer, Austria
    Impact Transfer is an initiative of Ashoka, which facilitates the cross-border replication and transfer of social/environmental innovations and makes them available where they are needed and demanded by local stakeholders.
  • European Social Catalyst Fund, Ireland, Germany, Belgium
    The European Social Catalyst Fund (ESCF) is a new initiative which aims at bringing together public and private resources to improve social services to enable people who need support to live as valued and participating members of their communities.
  •, France is a network of digital training centers offering free courses in digital professions that are currently in high demand, which seek to include those jobseekers who are underrepresented in the digital world. Since 2014, is going international and is currently located in 4 other European countries (Romania, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland).
  • Supercoop, Germany
    SuperCoop Berlin aims to create a community-owned supermarket to provide high-quality and sustainable food at fair prices.

While paying attention to the stakes (cooperation, adaptation …) and to the support and funding needs at all stages of replication (conception, implementation …), the session aims at promoting the diversity of ways to replicate relevant social innovations, with a view to better address the social and environmental challenges Europe is facing.

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