With nearly 30 000 companies supported in 2020, France Active confirms its position as the leading solidarity finance-provider. For companies just starting out, 90% of entrepreneurs were unemployed, one-third of whom where in long-term unemployment or eligible only for minimum benefits. Holding fewer diplomas than the average French entrepreneur, 54% had only a school-leaving certificate (baccalauréat, equivalent to the UK’s A-levels) or a low-level diploma. Almost 30% of them are under 30 years old, and 27% are developing their project in disadvantaged 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-committed entrepreneurs created or maintained 58 000 jobs.
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 have the most difficulty securing loans, such as the long-term unemployed, young people, women, and people living or setting up business in disadvantaged areas.
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 Fonds de cohésion sociale – state fund which aims at guaranteeing loans for social purposes, 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. Last year France Active secured financing for social committed entrepreneurs with 284 million raised in 2020 through bank loan guarantees, giving nearly 21 000 guarantees.
Entrusted to France Active Garantie, the Fonds de cohésion sociale (State fund which aims at guaranteeing loans for social purposes) also guarantees micro-loans granted to entrepreneurs who are excluded from the banking system, particularly those issued by Adie (French microcredit organisation)
This action to promote the creation of new businesses is consistent with the new direction Bpifrance has been given by the French government. A long side 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 2020.
France Active is one of France’s leading finance-providers for socially-committed 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 a SSE business. Known for its ability to advise and support these companies, France Active promotes social innovation and offers opportunities to the major social actors of the future.
2014-2018 impact study of the 5,771 companies or associations supported in 2014 shows the results of socially conscious companies in terms of sustainability and economic performance. Four out of five entrepreneurs are still active three years after receiving funding ; that is 10 points higher than the national average ! Their job creation rate is also twice as high as the national average.
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Investment (equity financing or taking a capital stake) is crucial for the development of socially-committed companies. In 2018, France Active Investissement raised €22.2 million and collected 17.6 million from solidarity savings. Working with large investment companies (asset managers and mutual funds), France Active manages to raise awareness of the impact of citizen savings (solidarity-based savings and life insurance, including employee savings funds). All companies financed provide a real benefit to society and make a lasting commitment to changing our society for the better.
As a long-standing partner of France Active, France’s Deposit Office (Caisse des Dépôts) has reaffirmed its support for the network in terms of investment in SSE companies by offering direct investment capacities and regional management within the framework of the Banque des Territoires.
Social enterprises – Social Mission
These results prove that finance can, and must, benefit society. 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 financial sector, one that is in line with the expectations of society as a whole.
Les structures de l’ESS sont pleinement éligibles à tous les dispositifs mis en place par le Gouvernement depuis le début de la crise. Mais nous constatons que nombre d’entre elles ne connaissent pas et ne demandent pas ces aides : l’enjeu, c’est de leur donner les moyens de les activer. Au-delà de l’information, si l’accès aux aides reste difficile, il faut pouvoir compléter le dispositif : c’est l’objectif du fonds UrgenceESS.
Doté de 30 millions d’euros, le fonds UrgenceESS, voté dans le cadre du quatrième projet de loi de finances rectificative pour 2020 au mois de novembre dernier, est désormais pleinement opérationnel. Il sera déployé à compter du 22 janvier 2021 et proposera :