by Lara Rinaldi
Support local businesses with savings? It’s possible ! Launched in April 2021, the epargneoccitanie.fr platform makes it possible, for example, to finance regional projects. Created by the region, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) and the Toulouse company WiSEED, Epargne Occitanie offers two types of investment. “Investors have the possibility of entering the company’s capital through the purchase of shares, indicates Arnaud Chatail, head of operations and projects at WiSEED. Others opt for a loan; in this case the company issues bonds or equity securities. »
Since its launch, five Occitan companies have thus been able to obtain financing, ie more than two million euros invested in a few months. The sectors are varied: clothing, aeronautics, agriculture, food or disability. “The companies are notably identified by the CCI or the regional economic development agency, details Arnaud Chatail. The platform team also goes to the field to identify companies that have needs. »
Limit the risks
The companies are then audited in order to reduce the investment risks. “Not all companies are eligible,” recalls the operations and projects manager. They then present their project to a commitment committee bringing together the shareholders of Epargne Occitanie, the region, the CCI and WiSEED. In total, nearly 400 companies have already submitted an application. Once approved by the Commitment Committee, fundraising takes an average of three months.
For individuals, the operation is relatively simple: all you have to do is register on the platform and answer a few questions to assess your financial knowledge. This involves, for example, checking whether the investor is aware of the various instruments available to him and is aware of the risks. “The minimum bet is 100 euros and is not capped,” says Arnaud Chatail.
To recover your stake once the company is financed, everything depends on the investment made. In the case of bonds, repayments will take place on monthly or annual dates. On average, a loan lasts three to five years. When buying shares, you have to be more patient. “Investors are never guaranteed to be able to resell their shares, with or without capital gain, but we ask entrepreneurs to set an appointment five years after entering the capital in order to consider an exit”, indicates the manager. of WiSEED’s operations and projects. During this type of operation, the shareholder remains, on average, five to seven years in the capital of the financed company.
Regional investment funds
Operating on the same principle, generalist platforms such as Lita.co or Tudigo also make it possible to finance companies located throughout France. There are also many regional investment funds. Examples include Bretagne Capital Solidaire or GwenneG in Brittany, Herrikoa in the Basque Country or FemuQui Ventures in Corsica. For risk-averse individuals who still wish to support local companies, crowdfunding platforms offer to help a company develop through a system of presales or donations with counterparties. For example, J’adopte un projet is aimed at entrepreneurs in New Aquitaine, Kocoriko has financed nearly 500 projects in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes or Kengo.bzh has supported nearly 970 Breton projects for an average amount of 5,000 euros. .