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Awakening your inner business creator!

Business creations have attained at an unprecedented rate in France. A record high of 815,257 creations was recorded in 2019, and the ten-year forecast is for a market of one million. But creating a business remains a challenging task and the stages involved can be long and littered with obstacles. One of the keys to a successful business creation is support. Studies show that companies having been supported from their very first business idea or project have a greater chance of still being in activity five years after start-up.

Deciding to create a business is an important step that requires considerable motivation and a great deal of energy.

The main motivations of entrepreneurs[1] are the desire to be independent; a taste for initiative and a thirst for new challenges; the quest to earn more; the necessity of creating one’s own job; an opportunity; a personal idea; and an entourage of entrepreneurs propitious to this lifestyle.

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There are seven main types of business creators[2]: young graduates creating businesses; employees as a supplementary activity; retired people; business creators in teaching and healthcare[3]; the unemployed; business creators struggling to access employment; and experienced creators.

Contrary to preconceived ideas, businesses are not created purely by micro-entrepreneurs. Of the 815,257 businesses created in France in 2019, 47% are micro-businesses (386,326 registrations), 27% companies (218,426 registrations) and 26% conventional individual businesses (210,505 registrations). 

Just 20% of entrepreneurs benefit from support, and for many of them this support is the key to their success, with 75% of supported businesses still in activity after three years, compared with 52% without support. The vital need, then, is to spread the word that the entrepreneurial ecosystem in all its forms can be supported, regardless of the projects involved.

 

For professionals

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Be it through meetings with dedicated Group advisers and experts or through digital journeys, Crédit Agricole provides business creators with bespoke advice to support them in their project and simplify the relationship on a daily basis.

Support for business projects and créations

JeSuisEntrepreneur.fr is the only free digital platform that guides entrepreneurs step by step in their business creation project. Jesuisentrepreneur.fr helps business creators find the ideal location for their business, analyse the market, prepare financial forecasts, identify the legal structure of their business and register their articles of association. Business creators can contact a Crédit Agricole advisor at any time.

Across France, entrepreneurs can also take part in “Creation Coffees” organised by the Regional Banks. These are informal and friendly events where individuals looking to create a business can ask questions to various partners, including accountants, lawyers, notaries, bank advisers, and representatives of CCI, CMA and support networks.

426 “Creation Coffees” were organised in 2019 at 25 Regional Banks with 3,200 participants[4].

Financing a new business

For Regional Bank customers, Lanceur Pro is an unsecured loan with an exceptional rate designed specifically for business creators or buyers to finance the investments involved in the start-up of their professional activity, including equipment, vehicles, works, business capital, share purchases, and property investments.

With the Prêt Créateur loan, business creators can finance their equipment while safeguarding their cash flow, with the chosen financing option (credit-lease or medium-term loan) and reduced personal guarantees, for example through Bpifrance. 

Support networks for creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem at important moments

Crédit Agricole works closely together with support networks, in line with its commitment to human and local support. It is the leading banking partner of the main networks, including Initiative France, Réseau Entreprendre and France Active.

The Initiative France network of organisations groups 251 member “platforms” located throughout France. The platforms help individuals to obtain interest-free and unsecured loans, gaining certification for the business creator and establishing banking facilities for their project. A company head or an experienced executive may sponsor the business Creator. 

The Réseau Entreprendre network represents 64 organisations of 14,000 company heads in ten countries. It brings entrepreneurs a support journey at each stage in the life of a company, adapted to the project in question and with the voluntary support of company heads.

Bpifrance, a public investment bank and subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts and the French government, and Crédit Agricole signed a partnership agreement in 2015 aimed at strengthening their joint work on support for French companies, SMEs and mid-tier enterprises internationally.

For startups

 

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The expression “startup” implies a sense of experimentation with a new business activity in a new market, the risk of which is difficult to assess. Startups are composed of a determined and ambitious team having developed an innovative idea with large-scale growth potential and with considerable financing needs. To expand, these companies need to rely on a network of experts that can support them at important moments.

At Crédit Agricole, they can benefit from the ecosystem of 33 Villages by CA, the number-one startup accelerator system in France. The Village by CA network helps startups through 360° support, including master classes, conferences, expert networks, exceptional venues for hosting customers and investors, the establishment of relationships with major groups, and an alumni network. It also facilitates collaborative initiatives with partner businesses to try out new and innovative work methods.

To help them set up business and develop internationally, the network has international satellites, with a Village by CA in Milan and Luxembourg and relays in major cities, such as London, New York, Shanghai and Tokyo.

The Regional Banks themselves are organising to reach out to these singular customers, notably by introducing special advisers dedicated to startups with expertise on startup-adapted financing. These advisers are also working together with the Villages to unlock synergies. Banks remain essential partners in the financing of startups, and also in responding to their day-to-day banking needs and providing diverse support solutions at both national and international level.

The issue of financing, vital to fuelling the growth of startups, is also addressed by the Group’s capital investment structures, including the subsidiaries of one or several Regional Banks; IDIA Capital Investissement, a Crédit Agricole S.A. subsidiary; and CA Innovation et Territoires and Fintech Insurtech Venture, the group’s two venture capital funds. These structures support startups by participating in their fundraising rounds, while focusing on specific business sectors such as agriculture and agri-food, renewable energies and FinTechs. They are thus contributing to the financing of innovation in our territories.

Further support is available in the form of the French Tech mission, launched in 2014 by the French government and accompanied by a variety of aid systems, including the French Tech grant, Pass French Tech, and promotional activities for boosting international visibility. 

International support: local relationships without borders

The International Business Support Division, based at Crédit Agricole CIB, supports the SME, mid-tier enterprise and startup customers of the Group’s retail banking networks (Regional Banks, LCL, International Retail Banking) seeking to export their idea or develop their network internationally. The Crédit Agricole Group’s network of International Desks draw on their knowledge of local markets to help these businesses assess economic, human and organisational challenges.

For farmers

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To ensure a solid foundation for their activity, farmers need to address a number of issues, including financing their holdings through adapted solutions, insuring them and protecting them from the consequences of natural hazards, and making sure their activity gets off to a robust start in the first few months.

Setting up a business: financing a business creation, ensuring and protecting agricultural holdings, and effectively managing the start-up phase

Currently, 14,000 holdings are created every year for 25,000 departures. The forecast in 2020 is two departures for one creation.

The agricultural profession is changing, making it vital to develop new offers and new tools. Economic, health and weather hazards are commonplace in the lives of young farmers, as is the diversification of holdings.

On the basis of joint work carried out by Crédit Agricole and Jeunes Agriculteurs, a national offer has been designed including:

- a set-up loan with greater flexibility for dealing with hazards

- an incentivising insurance package to integrate the management of farming risks immediately from set-up

- an advantageous electronic payment system for developing short distribution channels

- an e-commerce offer for those looking to create an online store

- a telesurveillance offer for the agricultural holding.

Setting up short distribution channels

Organic farming requires specific banking and insurance support, for farmers setting up a new holding or those converting all or part of their existing holding. Based on the initiatives of the Regional Banks, Crédit Agricole’s support approach comprises four focuses: flexible financing for set-up or conversion; direct sales facilitated by mobile payment solutions; protection in the event of a loss of revenue resulting from weather hazards; and better visibility of the holding.

The latest market indications show a substantial development in direct sales to consumers. One out of five farmers sell their products via short distribution channels (up 34% in five years). In addition, over a quarter of set-up projects include this type of distribution. It is important to support these new players and equip them with electronic payment solutions to capture flows.

As part of the drive to help farmers win new customers and obtain the necessary equipment, Crédit Agricole and the Standing Assembly of the Chambers of Agriculture have joined forces to sign the Bienvenue à la Ferme* partnership. This partnership will serve to promote our offer with 6,500 members.

 

[1] INSEE study - Les créations et créateurs d'entreprises en 2010 : situation initiale, situation en 2013 et en 2015.

[2] INSEE study - Entrepreneurs: the line between employment and entrepreneurship is becoming blurred

[3] The high proportion of women in these fields (69%) stems from an emphatic orientation towards human health and social action (42%) and teaching (25%).

[4] Estimate on the basis of online subscriptions.

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