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Bpifrance’s crazy bet in support, aid and networks



Less than 20% of business creators in France are lucky enough to benefit from the help of a specialized network: Adie, BGE, Réseau Entreprendre, France active, Initiative France, Moovjee, chambers of commerce or trades… , this means that, of the million business creations registered last year, according to INSEE, nearly 800,000 did not benefit from assistance from these associative networks, which have the principle of free access and the support of thousands of volunteers.

The accompaniment is however decisive. It greatly increases the chances of success of a young company. The five-year sustainability rate, ie the probability of still being in business five years after creation, increases from 50% to more than 70% or even 90% depending on the intensity of support. This sustainability also depends on the number of jobs created. Adie, an association which works mainly with people far from employment, has calculated thatone euro invested in a business creation brought back, two years later, 2.53 euros net to the community.

More efficiency and synergy

Based on this observation, Bpifrance brought together the 26 associative networks dedicated to entrepreneurship to which the public bank provides direct financing of up to 60 million euros per year. The initiative called “Cap Créa” aimed to promote synergies in this ecosystem that has become increasingly complex over the years. “Everyone is in their swimming lane. From raising awareness to rebounding, no one has the full range of support and financing,” recognizes Guillaume Pepy, president of the Initiative France network. This network alone has more than 1,000 employees, 22,000 volunteers and finances more than 20,000 business creators or takeovers each year.

These 26 networks signed a joint manifesto on October 6, in which they undertake to ” better inform and guide but above all to “strengthen [leur] impact by doubling the number of creators supported, in order to generate one million additional permanent jobs”. The ambition is strong, all the stronger since their operating budgets will not increase in proportion. “The answer is not to double the amount of subsidies,” warns Marie Adeline-Peix, executive director at Bpifrance.

Dependence on public funding

If part of the way can be achieved in particular thanks to digital, nothing will replace the human in the accompaniment, warn these associations. “We can go halfway with efficiency, recognizes Emmanuel Landais, the general manager of Adie. And the other half with human resources. Its association network has 700 employees, 1,300 volunteers and supports around 15,000 project leaders each year. To keep the promise of doubling the number of creators supported, it would therefore be necessary, if we follow his reasoning, to increase the financial resources of the associations by 25% within five years. Hard to believe in the current context of tightening public finances.

Because these networks are mainly subsidized by local authorities, in particular the regions, which are faced with the drop in state funding and the sharp rise in energy costs, and will have to make choices. “A regional president told me that he wanted to reduce the aid he grants us by 25%, testifies Guillaume Pepy. He told me: ‘Do productivity!’ I replied that we would do 25% less files. »

There is also a great temptation for the regions to redirect part of their funding towards other priorities. The fall in unemployment and the difficulties of recruitment in the medico-social or tourism sectors could encourage them to give priority to training for occupations in shortage, to the detriment, perhaps, of business creation.

The use of the CPF restricted by decree

Also, to increase their financial resources, or, at worst, keep them afloat, support networks must diversify their funding: private investment, volunteering, skills sponsorship. Association leaders are campaigning for job creation to be recognized as a mission of general interest in order to allow private donors to benefit from a 60% tax deduction.

The use of the personal training account (CPF) is another avenue on which the networks have embarked. But there again, they face some difficulties. As training centers also sniffed out a windfall, in the first half of 2022, requests for financing under the CPF exploded in the business creation category. They would have reached, according to our information, the sum of 370 million euros! But in the lot, there were many formations more or less serious, even downright fraudulent. Also, the public authorities reacted quickly.

A decree dated April 22 strongly restricted the use of the CPF. It specifies that this training must now relate to “the acquisition of transversal skills exclusively related to the management of the company, to the exclusion of technical skills related to the exercise of a trade”. A few weeks after the publication of this decree, 80% of the 3,828 business creation training organizations were notified by mail of their delisting. Yet there are still a few unconventional offerings left. The outright abolition of eligibility for the CPF for business creation training has been considered. Only courses listed in the National Directory of Professional Certifications would be preserved. The associative support networks approve, those who have been campaigning for many months for recognition of their professionalism.

The signing of the Cap Créa manifesto also aims to label the seriousness of these 26 support networks. And to play collective, while the call of entrepreneurship does not weaken. This year again, the number of business creations will reach one million.

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