POSTED 23/04/2019

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.”

Press release