From Europe to the regions : how do socially committed entrepreneurs benefit from European funding?

Europe may seem far away, but it is at the heart of the regions, promoting employment and access to bank credit, and enabling the most vulnerable people to create and develop the most social and environment friendly businesses.

Europe is involved both in the direct financing of entrepreneurs and in strengthening the skills of France Active advisors.

Loan guarantees and investments

France Active mobilizes European funds to finance the projects of the most fragile entrepreneurs and the most socially committed organisations.


For example, Europe, via the European Investment Fund (EIF), provides a loan “counter-guarantee” to cover the risk taken by France Active when it acts as guarantor for the most fragile entrepreneurs. Thus, they do not have to take out a personal guarantee when launching their business. This program is particularly aimed at priority groups (people in very precarious situations, young people or women looking for work or in precarious employment) and priority areas (priority urban districts, rural revitalization zones).


The EIF also provides guarantees for France Active’s investments, enabling entrepreneurs to go even further in their support for priority target groups, the most fragile areas and innovative business projects with a high social impact, while controlling risk.


Europe enables France Active to set up experiments to adjust its financing offer according to the different life phases of structures.1

To facilitate the start-up and takeover phases, France Active recently upgraded its solidarity investment offer, capitalizing in particular on recent experiments. To do this, France Active drew on feedback from a loan deployed to 400 social enterprises to cope with the crisis, and more broadly on its expertise in financing developed over some thirty years.


The IMPACT+ project (supported by the European Commission) is currently being carried out, with the aim of structuring social economy sectors.


Bringing together some twenty federations, networks, academic players and social enterprises, the Franco-Belgian VISES project has developed a social impact measurement approach that takes into account the specific characteristics of social enterprises. This participative, tailor-made, qualitative and quantitative social impact assessment approach questions the link between social needs and a company’s missions, with the aim of going beyond the effectiveness of action.


Since the end of this project, France Active has been working on spreading this approach within its own network.

Non-financial support

ESF+ is a very important source of funding for the France Active network and its work in supporting and financing entrepreneurs and SSE structures. It enables us to support, put in touch and finance a growing number of entrepreneurs who are far from the banking system (jobseekers, recipients of minimum social benefits, young people under 26, women, etc.) and social enterprises.


The France Active association mobilizes the ESF+ for its network professionalization actions2 with the French ministry of labour (Délégation générale à l’emploi et à la formation professionnelle DGEFP). France Active’s regional associations mobilize the ESF+ (or ERDF where applicable) of the Regions for their initiatives in support of entrepreneurial projects, in line with regional operational programs.


The DLA is the French leading organization delivering capacity-building support for the social economy. It works free of charge with socially useful organisations to help them develop their jobs and projects. To support social entrepreneurs in their projects, France Active, as the DLA financement resource center3, produces guides, thematic studies, educational sheets and articles.


Managing Director of France Active

In the run-up to the European elections on Sunday June 9, in a tense economic and external context, it’s important to recall what Europe does for France Active, in support of projects by jobseekers, associations and social enterprises.


Europe is an essential partner for France Active, and a real lever of financing for entrepreneurs.


Pierre-René Lemas is a member of a European group of experts on socia economy at a time when Europe is giving it an increasingly important place, with the implementation of the European social economy action plan launched by Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights.


Europe will be what we make of it! So let’s continue to show what we’re building with Europe’s support: the development of a more inclusive and sustainable economy at the service of local communities.

1 – It is in this context that France Active has implemented the “ReadinESS” project, dedicated to preparing social enterprises for investment, and the “SOON” project for the most innovative social enterprises in the seed phase – Back


2 – As part of “Nouvel horizon: structuration et professionnalisation du réseau France Active” – Back


3 – Financed by the European CommissionBack

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