18 février 2020

France Active launches the 1st Seed Fund fully devoted to social innovation entrepreneurs.

France Active launches the 1st Seed Fund fully devoted to social innovation entrepreneurs.

Montreuil, Tuesday 4th February 2020

Obtaining financial assistance and counselling at the first and critical stage of commercial introduction, is often difficult, especially for those embarking on social innovation. To give social entrepreneurs the means to face this high-risk stage, France Active launches the first seed fund of 10 Million Euros.

​Under the French Impact banner (an initiative led by the French government), the brand new Seed fund, has been selected by the European Commission to strengthen France Active’s ability to advise and invest in committed social entrepreneurial projects. This project is also supported by the High-Commission for Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Innovation (HCESS).

This Seed Fund was officially launched on February 4th, 2020, in presence of Ann Branch, Head of the « Job Creation » Unit, in the « Employment, social affairs and inclusion » Directorate. Christophe Itier, High-Commissionner for Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Innovation, and Chistophe Genter, director of the Social Innovation and Territorial Cohesion Department at the Bank of the Territories.

Objective : Finance 100 companies for a total amount invested of €10 million

The crucial first fundraising that will allow a project to be launched concretely or to scale up is the most stressful phase for the entrepreneur. A recent OpinionWay survey for France Active showed that while 42% of 18-30 year olds say they want to start their own business, nearly 80% of them acknowledge that they would not be able to do so without help. 31% of them mention a need for financing, 21% want support to access a professional network, 20% want to be supported by a coach, etc.

Therefore, France Active decided to hasten its action in favor of social entrepreneurs, especially those in seed stage, with:

  • the mobilization of 12 advisors who will provide tailor-made advice in each region to entrepreneurs who place social innovation at the heart of their project.
  • the creation of this Seed Fund, a solidarity-based seed capital offer dedicated to social innovation structures that will enable them to obtain equity financing of between 50,000 euros and 200,000 euros, as well as support during the first round of financing.

Over the next two years, France Active aims at financing and supporting 100 social business in metropolitan France as well as in its overseas territories, for a total investment of €10 million.

As part of the official launch of this new fund, France Active organized an event on February 4th, 2020 with 6 social entrepreneurs who benefited from a fundraising. Thus, Simplon, Label Emmaüs, Moulinot, Eco-Mégot, Le Drive Tout Nu, Ecov, were invited to talk about their experience with other future entrepreneurs.

  • Simplon is a social company that intends to make digital technology a lever for inclusion, revealing different talents whom are currently little represented in the digital economy. It accompanies organizations, to make their digital transformation inclusive and providing them with technical solutions (high-performance and responsible websites and applications). Today, Simplon builds a network of digital factories in France and abroad. Since its creation in 2013, more than 6200 trainees have been trained, including 40% of women and 50% of whom have few or no qualifications.
  • Label Emmaüs : This cooperative is a web-based e-commerce platform, which belongs to the Emmaüs Movement, created in 2016. It enables a multitude of items sold in the Emmaus shops to be purchased online. More generally, the label supports a digital solidarity transformation project within the movement, by offering a new distribution channel for items sold by the communities. It is also helping to build Emmaüs companions’ capacities by teaching them new trading techniques. The cooperative also builds professional integration programs for the job fields of the future such as web development, web marketing and logistical support.
  • Moulinot : is a solidarity-based company pioneering in the management of food waste also called “biowaste”. As early as 2014, it came up with an innovative solution to an insolvable issue, by proposing to raise awareness and train restaurant owners located in Ile-de-France to set up a waste sorting system in their kitchen. The company comes, collects these wastes on a daily basis thanks to the use of ecofriendly vehicles, and bring it back to the firm in the region. From that point, Moulinot has developed 2 ways to reuse it, either as compost, or by transporting it to agricultural methanizers to make biogas or electricity. This activity is also supporting a social project, aimed at bringing marginalized people back to employment through training and construction of integration programs. Supported during the seed stage by France Active in 2014, the company is now the leading player in this sector among all the Parisian region.
  • EcoMegot provides a complete, professional and local solution to raise awareness, collect and reuse cigarette butts for both private and public actors. To this end, it sets up specific ashtrays from where these butts will be collected and treated afterwards. It follows a twofold objective: on the one end it contributes to the depollution in urban and natural spaces, on the other end, it creates local employment.
  • Ecov is an innovative, social and solidarity-based start-up. Its objective is to use cars as a collective means of transportation by developing local solutions for carpooling, with and on behalf of local collectivity. Ecov offers local car-sharing lines in peri-urban and rural areas, providing a solution to the issue of desertification, public transportation shortage, and the subsequent isolation in those areas.
  • Le Drive Tout Nu : Opened in 2018 next to Toulouse, thanks to solidarity-based finance, Drive Tout Nu is the first zero waste drive, 100% responsible. It offers food, cosmetics, and household products in zero-waste version. By combining the bulk with the convenience of the drive, Drive Tout Nu aims to democratize a more responsible and ecological consumption for everyone. At least 60% of the products are sourced within a 100km range, and are produced organically or assimilated. 100% of the products are provided within a reusable packaging, and 10cts are offered as a voucher for each returned container. For an equal amount, the products are 10 to 40% cheaper than their packaged equivalent.
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Press release

30 octobre 2019

Social entrepreneurs: a strengthened offer for seed stage

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Montreuil, 30 october 2019

Very few business support organisations operate in seed stage, although it is a key period in business creation. It is even more relevant for entrepreneurs who are primarily focused on having a strong social impact in society. To succeed, fundraising is a fundamental step when starting a company. This is where France Active comes in.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Number 1 social funder in France and pioneer in the field of support services to social enterprises, France Active supports entrepreneurs at all stages of their company’s life: from seed stage to scale-up. As seed stage is a difficult phase, France Active launches a dedicated program that has been awarded the “French Impact” label (initiative of the French government). With the support of France Active’s partners and the shareholders of its investment company, it will enable new entrepreneurs to start out and to offer concrete solutions to tackle current social and environmental challenges.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]France Active is strengthening its action towards social enterprises and developing funding, coaching and networking services for social entrepreneurs in seed stage. This will be even more possible thanks to the European Commission support, as France Active’s answer to the call for proposals “EaSI – Transaction cost support for social enterprise finance market” has been selected. Along with capacity building of 10 local advisers, those additional means will be entirely dedicated to seed stage support. It will thus enable to fill a gap in the social enterprise finance market by providing innovative social enterprises with appropriate equity funding (between 20K€ and 100K€) as well as personalised coaching and networking services. This 2-year project aims at supporting 100 social enterprises in the territories concerned. [/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_btn title="Download the press release" shape="square" color="vista-blue" size="lg" align="center" i_icon_fontawesome="fa fa-download" add_icon="true" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Ffranceactive.eu%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F11%2FCP_POSITIONNEMENT-FRANCE-ACTIVE.pdf||target:%20_blank|"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/12"][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section][vc_section][vc_row full_width="stretch_row_content_no_spaces" css=".vc_custom_1507207606477{background-color: #fcfcfc !important;}"][vc_column][related_post_fa posts_per_page="15"][vc_single_image image="485" alignment="center" el_class="no-margin-bottom"][vc_empty_space height="5px" el_class="no-margin-bottom"][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section][vc_section full_width="stretch_row" css=".vc_custom_1507158369201{border-top-width: 1px !important;border-top-color: #1c1c1c !important;}"][vc_row full_width="stretch_row_content"][vc_column][vc_empty_space height="30px"][vc_custom_heading text="Autres News" font_container="tag:h2|text_align:center" use_theme_fonts="yes" el_class="font-zilla-bold-italic arrow-green-bottom title-padding " css=".vc_custom_1507768799388{margin-top: -20px !important;}"][vc_empty_space height="30px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width="stretch_row_content_no_spaces"][vc_column][related_post_fa posts_per_page="15"][vc_empty_space height="30px"][vc_btn title="Découvrez toute l'actu" color="vista-blue" align="center" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Ffranceactive.eu%2Fsinformer%2Factualites-evenements%2F|||"][vc_empty_space height="65px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section]

23 avril 2019

Young people want to be entrepreneurs, but they don’t want to do it alone!

France Active scales up its work with them, with an emphasis on social innovation.

Paris, 23 April 2019

What do French people think about business creation today? And, more specifically, how do 18-30 year olds see entrepreneurship? To answer these questions, France Active and OpinionWay consulted the French public and especially young people, whose attitudes to business creation are characterised by courage, realism and strong convictions. The results confirm the value of France Active’s work with business creators, and especially its development plan: accelerate the success of socially minded entrepreneurs.

  • 42.5% of young people want to be entrepreneurs

Of the18-30 year olds surveyed, 42.5% expressed a desire to create their own business. More than half of young people are more interested in being entrepreneurs than employees. This is a response to concerns about boredom at work (43%).

Having said that, these young people are not ready to rush blindly into a business venture: 55% say they are reluctant to make the leap for financial reasons, 37% because of complex procedures. Only 20% fear an extremely large workload, which is far from the common perception of a disillusioned generation.

So what do they need to help them get started? For 78% of young people, the answer is clear: they would like a helping hand. This may be financing for their project (31%), the support of a professional network (21%)coaching (20%) or a bank loan (6%).

But this clarity is accompanied by a lack of vital information : 70% of 18-30 year olds say they do not know about the resources currently available to help them start a business. This figure rises to 76% among 25-30 year olds.

  • Two drivers for entrepreneurs: fulfilling their potential and changing society

Why start a business? For 60% of young people, it is above all a way to change the world. For 30%, the preferred model is one in which all employees are decision-makers in a cooperative enterprise (SCOP - société cooperative de production), while 25% are focused projects linked to sustainable development or the environment. More than 20% would be prepared to start a business that could contribute to social cohesion and further the development of their region, while almost 20% would start a social project that combats poverty and exclusion.

This “socially committed” vision of entrepreneurship does not exclude individual ambition. When we asked 18-30 year olds about their personal reasons for wanting to start a business, one answer stood out: 59% thought it was a way to avoid being unemployed. After that came the concept of freedom (51%), the desire to create their own job as well as others (36%) and the prospect of earning money (36%).

These results align with what we hear from the young entrepreneurs we support,” says Pierre-René Lemas, President of France Active. “They want to change the world and fulfil their own potential. They all believe that it is possible to invest in a socially beneficial project while also making a profit! This is entirely in line with our approach: as a pillar in the field of solidarity finance, we promote this same concept of a social economy that is profitable, economically competitive and that supports job creation and regional development.”
When it comes to the sector in which they would like to start up, young people have very diverse ambitions: the leisure, sport and culture sector tops the list (16%), followed by IT (10%), and the rest of the projects are extremely varied, with crafts coming in third (7%) and environmental projects in sixth position.

  • To meet these needs, France Active is scaling up its work with young people

Against this background, France Active, France’s leader in the field of solidarity finance, is reinforcing its support for young people in two ways (in 2018 17% of business creators were under 26 years old and one-third were under 30).

By supporting entrepreneurs who have the most difficulty accessing bank services:

Inherently socially minded, France Active’s 2019 strategy will prioritise people who have the greatest difficulty in securing financing. Young people are central to this priority, especially those who are developing their project in the most vulnerable regions.
In 2018, 20% of projects supported were located in high-priority urban or rural regeneration areas. This regional targeting increased by 6% in the first quarter of 2019.

Another priority for its activities is highly vulnerable people (long-term unemployed or those eligible for only minimal benefits) who want to grow their business. In the first quarter, they made up 36% of the businesses supported, already 3% more than in 2018.

By ramping up support for SSE companies

Entrepreneurs in the SSE field receive support from France Active in every phase of their project.

In 2019, France Active is ramping up its support, especially for young people, in two key phases :

  • Seed stage, with the launch of “Place de l'émergence”, a new programme allowing young business creators to assess the feasibility of their project and bringing together financial partners. These future entrepreneurs will receive tailored support and mentoring from an established social entrepreneur. From September on, "Place de l'émergence" will multiply the impact of the current trust fund (more than 100 projects every year).
  • Early stages, a key period in business creation requiring a search for financing. France Active has expertise in financial risk management, advice and creating connections between stakeholders who want to develop innovative projects that benefit society. In 2019, France Active is intensifying the efforts of its 42 regional associations to identify stakeholders wishing to get involved in promoting social cohesion, employment and environmental sustainability.

“Very few structures operate in the seed and early creation stages. This is a unique strength of France Active,” explains Pierre-René Lemas. “It is even more relevant for SSE companies whose ambitions span both social awareness and economic performance. Our support enables them to address unmet needs and offer concrete solutions to the great societal challenges that we must all face together.”

Download the press release – Available in french

Press release

SSE growth pact: a place for France Active
04 Déc 2018 > Press releases A wave of optimism among entrepreneurs financed by France Active!
12 Déc 2018 > Press releases France Active, a driver for employment and the Social and Solidarity
15 Fév 2019 > Press releases
15 février 2019

France Active, a driver for employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, with 7,500 companies supported in 2018

Paris, 15 February 2019

Entrepreneurship and social cohesion

A review of France Active’s activities in 2018 clearly demonstrates its profound social commitment and the contribution it has made to the rise of socially minded entrepreneurs.

The “social” aspect is evident in the entrepreneurs it has supported in the start-up phase: 90% of those supported were unemployed, one-third of whom were classed unemployed or eligible only for minimum benefits. And “commitment” is reflected in the growing number of these entrepreneurs who seek to create social or environmental impact through their project. This makes France Active the leading finance-provider for the Social and Solidarity Economy.

Almost 7,500 companies were created in 2018 thanks to the its support, resulting in the creation or preservation of 40,000 jobs across all regions. In total, 306 million euros were raised in the form of guaranteed bank loans, investments, solidarity loans and grants.

Contributing to business creation and employment

With nearly 7,500 companies supported in 2018, France Active confirms its position as the leading solidarity finance-provider. For companies just starting out, 90% of entrepreneurs were unemployed, with one-third of them classed long-term unemployed or eligible only for minimum benefits. Holding fewer diplomas than France’s other entrepreneurs, 57% had only a school-leaver certificate (baccalauréat, equivalent to the UK’s A-levels) or a low-level diploma. Almost 30% of them are under 30 years old, and 20% are developing their project in difficult areas (government-identified priority zones and rural areas). Half of all projects supported by France Active are managed by women. The overall result is a positive social and societal footprint for the economy since these socially minded entrepreneurs created or maintained 40,000 jobs. For more information, see the complete France Active impact study (available in french).

Facilitating access to bank financing for everyone: France Active’s guarantee

Keen to facilitate access to bank financing, France Active has launched and implemented a new guarantee offer to help clear obstacles from the path of those who might have the most difficulty securing loans, such as the long-term unemployed, young people, women, and people living or setting up a business within disadvantaged regions.

Entrepreneurs can now benefit from a bank loan guarantee of up to 80% of the borrowed amount. In return, banks do not demand entrepreneurs be personally liable. This deal was struck with banks and public finance-providers (the EU, countries with Social Cohesion Funds and local authorities), convinced of the socially transformative role of entrepreneurship.

This kind of hybrid financing gives everyone the same chance of succeeding and offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop the economy of their area and contribute to social cohesion. With €255 million raised in 2018 through bank loan guarantees, last year France Active secured financing for nearly 5,500 entrepreneur projects.

Entrusted to France Active Garantie, the Social Cohesion Fund also guarantees micro-loans granted to entrepreneurs who are excluded from the banking system, particularly those issued by the Association for the Right to Business Initiative (Association pour le droit à l'initiative économique – l’Adie).

This action to promote the creation of new businesses is consistent with the new direction Bpifrance has been given by the French government. Alongside the European Investment Fund, Bpifrance has long been a partner of France Active, guaranteeing part of its activity. Bpifrance is to increase its support for the network’s activities throughout 2019.

The aim : to finance companies during start-up

France Active is one of France’s leading finance-providers for socially conscious companies. Of the 1,355 Social and Solidarity Economy organisations funded in 2018, 36% were starting up or in the early phase of creation - the riskiest phases in the life of an SSE business. Known for its ability to advise and support these companies, France Active promotes social innovation and offers opportunities to the major SSE stakeholders of the future. In terms of sustainability and economic performance, a 2014-2018 impact study of the 5,771 companies or associations supported in 2014 shows the real results of socially conscious companies. Four out of five entrepreneurs are still active three years after receiving funding; 10% more than the national average! Their job creation rate is also twice the national average. Read the study (available in french)

The social mission of companies financed by France Active Investissement

SSE Companies - Social Mission 2018
Regional cohesion 30%
Employment and training - Support for people in insecure situations 21%
Culture and general education, recreation, socio-cultural events 19%
Sustainable economy (sustainable food, organic sector, eco-activities and eco-circular, renewable energies) 16%
Health and social action/Access to healthcare 9%
Access to housing 3%
Fighting exclusion/Social work 2%
"These results prove that finance can, and must, benefit society," comments Pierre-René Lemas, President of France Active. "We can create value by addressing unmet social and regional needs. This is France Active’s mission: to give finance a transformative role, offering each entrepreneur the means to be part of the major transitions we are experiencing. This is a new path for the finance industry, in line with the expectations of society as a whole." Download the press release – Available in french

Press release

Social economy growth pact: a place for France Active
04 Déc 2018 > Press releases A wave of optimism among entrepreneurs financed by France Active!
12 Déc 2018 > Press releases Young people want to be entrepreneurs, but they don’t want to do it alone!
23 Avr 2019 > Press releases
12 décembre 2018

A wave of optimism among entrepreneurs financed by France Active!

Paris, 12 December 2018

Results of a major study assessing our impact on socially-committed entrepreneurs

France Active, the movement of socially-committed entrepreneurs, has been a pioneer in the field of solidarity finance for 30 years. Every two years, it evaluates the impact of its involvement on the success of projects financed three years previously. This major study, conducted in May 2018 by TMO Régions, covers 5,771 companies and associations supported in 2014, 708 of which took part in a telephone survey. It provides information on the background of the entrepreneurs supported, the sustainability of their project and their capacity to grow and create jobs.

Very encouraging results showing momentum that
far exceeds the national average
in terms of job creation and economic performance

Job creation double the national average

Figures on the creation and uptake of jobs supported by France Active show a particularly strong dynamic in job creation. In fact, having launched their business with on average 2.1 employees (compared to the national average of 1.9), these companies were employing, on average, 4.5 people three years later, compared to a national average of 2.9, showing growth of 114% compared to the national average of 52%.

It is worth noting that this growth occurred primarily in the creation of permanent contracts (45% of employees signed permanent contracts in 2018, a figure which has tripled in three years). In total, companies supported by France Active in 2014 had 38,600 employees on their payrolls in May 2018, bringing the estimated net total of posts created to 19,500.

Survival rate after four years 10% above the national average

Of the companies created, 79% are still in business after three years, 8% more than the national average. The survival rate after four years is 74%, (10% higher than the average).
The comprehensive and tailored support France Active provides to socially-committed entrepreneurs (through advice, financing and networking) has proven particularly effective: it has allowed 40% of business creators to bring their projects to fruition, as well as 58% of those developing their projects.
Lastly, these entrepreneurs are particularly optimistic about their future, with eight out of ten saying they are satisfied with their last project, around one in two wishing to grow their business and one-third planning to take on more staff!

Do these entrepreneurs have a magic formula? The human values that underpin these companies, and the meaning they find in their professional commitment are undoubtedly the keys to their long-term success and their optimism.
All they need to spark their success is a helping hand from France Active, which gives them access to financing and supports them throughout the different stages of their entrepreneurial journey.

Pierre-René Lemas, President of France Active explains, “One of our main goals is to open up entrepreneurship opportunities for the most vulnerable, especially young people who are unemployed or in insecure situations, and women, who are often discriminated against when it comes to access to employment. We also try to help those who are starting out in vulnerable regions, in both inner city and rural areas. I am proud to see that we have come a long way towards achieving this goal, and, above all, that these socially-committed entrepreneurs are growing faster than the average and creating value and high quality jobs!”

Download the press release – Available in french

Press release

SSE growth pact: a place for France Active
04 Déc 2018 > Press releases A wave of optimism among entrepreneurs financed by France Active!
12 Déc 2018 > Press releases Young people want to be entrepreneurs, but they don’t want to do it alone!
23 Avr 2019 > Press releases
4 décembre 2018

Social economy growth pact: a place for France Active

  Pierre-René Lemas, President of France Active welcomed the measures in the SSE growth pact, announced on Thursday 29 November by Christophe Itier, France’s High Commissioner for Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Innovation. He praised the willingness to place this economy at the heart of the European and international agenda : SSE is a powerful driver for social cohesion and consciousness which must extend beyond our borders. Among the measures announced to promote social entrepreneurship, France Active welcomed :
  • The development of start-up funds, and support through advice and financing, which France Active has prioritised for years in order to support SSE companies in the start-up or early creation phases. With this initiative, the French government is giving us the means to carry out activities in even more favourable conditions.
  • Simplification of the accreditation for “social business” (entreprise solidaire d'utilité sociale) status, a measure that will stimulate efforts to create businesses that are more beneficial to society, more democratic in their governance and more balanced in their pay structures.
From a wider perspective, France Active wants to participate fully in preliminary collaboration led by the High Commissioner and will help to implement the SSE growth pact. As Pierre-René Lemas explained, “For 30 years, France Active has been supporting a growing number of entrepreneurs who want to contribute to the creation of a more sustainable and inclusive economy. Our results speak for themselves: we have supported more than 200,000 entrepreneurs who have maintained or created more than 500,000 jobs. Our positive impact on employment, wealth creation and regional development is measured in concrete terms: I look forward to the publication, on 12 December, of a major survey on the impact of France Active; a study covering 5771 entrepreneurs supported by us in 2014 and monitored over three years.”

Press release

SSE growth pact: a place for France Active 04 Déc 2018 > Press releases A wave of optimism among entrepreneurs financed by France Active! 12 Déc 2018 > Press releases Young people want to be entrepreneurs, but they don’t want to do it alone! 23 Avr 2019 > Press releases