EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

France: ERM comparative analytical report on Public support instruments to support self-employment and job creation in one-person and micro enterprises

  • Observatory: EMCC
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 12 January 2012



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Author:
Sebastian Schulze-Marmeling
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Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

The most important public instrument to support job creation through self-employed is the auto-entrepreneur scheme that was introduced in 2008 and led to a massive increase in one-person enterprises. This instrument, however, has been covered elsewhere and is thus not the primary subject of this report. The rate of new one-person enterprises differs substantially between regions. This report thus looks at regions that report different success in encouraging self-employment and presents a selection of public support instruments. Although a wide range of measures exist one-person and micro enterprises are not always eligible to apply.

QUESTIONNAIRE

Part 1: Overall policy context

This section aims at giving a brief overview of the general development and status quo of the policy discussion and thereof resulting instruments, measures or initiatives in the field of fostering self-employment and job creation in one-person and micro enterprises (less than 10 employees). Focus is mainly on the developments during the last decade, that is before the global recession. In addition we are asking for your indication of change of policy focus since the recession.

1. General policy approach in the area of self-employment, one-person and micro enterprises at the national level


1.1. Has there been a policy focus/debate on the specific challenges facing entrepreneurship as tool for job creation before the global recession? If so, since when and for how long?

Table 1: Presence of policy focus/debate on entrepreneurship as facilitation for job creation before the crisis
 

Yes, continuously since xx? (Please indicate year)

Yes, on and off in the last 10 years

(Please indicate ‘X’ where it applies)

Yes, has been in focus, but since xx it is no longer part of the policy focus (Please indicate year)

No, it has never had policy focus before the recession

(Please indicate ‘X’ where it applies)

Self-employment

Early 2008

     
Hiring the first employee      

X

Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises      

X


1.2. What is the main focus in policy documents or strategies in relation to public or social partner based support instruments for fostering self-employment or job creation in one-person and micro enterprises? (Please indicate ‘X’, multiple answers possible)

Table 2: Main focus in the policy documents or strategies
 

Entrepreneurship (Business development in general)

Job creation (Employment)

Growth (Competitiveness)

Others (please specify)

Self-employment

X

X

X

More purchasing power.

Hiring the first employee      

N/A

Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises      

N/A


1.3. Please elaborate on the answer given above (with a focus on those developments aimed at employment creation and growth) and indicate if the financial recession has caused a change of focus:

Table 3: The policy content and significance of the financial recession
Self-employment
Elaboration of content (please describe and also indicate whether it is treated explicitly/implicitly)

Self-employment in France has long been sidelined. In spite of some initiatives in the 1990s the major policy initiative to boost self-employment was the 2008 Law for the Modernisation of the Economy, which facilitated the creation of one-person enterprises (‘auto-entrepreneur’, FR1009031Q). According to government documents the aims of this law were to increase the number of enterprises and the level of competition with the expected results of more economic growth, more jobs, and more purchasing power.

There have been several reforms to the system in order to increase the eligibility for the scheme, facilitate access to funding, and reduce the risk in case of bankruptcy (see below). None of these measures, however, has been introduced due to the economic crisis.

Change due to the financial recession

Please tick:

Yes: □

No: X

If ‘Yes’, please elaborate:

Hiring the first employee
Elaboration of content (please describe and also indicate whether it is treated explicitly/implicitly)

N/A

Change due to the financial recession

Please tick:

Yes: □

No: □

If ‘Yes’, please elaborate:

Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises
Elaboration of content (please describe and also indicate whether it is treated explicitly/implicitly)

N/A

Change due to the financial recession

Please tick:

Yes: □

No: □

If ‘Yes’, please elaborate:

2. Disincentives for self-employment and job creation

The following two questions will investigate whether there has been a change in the political agenda which has forced new political initiatives that may result in disincentives for job creation and business development (e.g. considerations regarding public budget).


2.1 Have public measures (e.g. with the aim to increase public revenue or cut public spending) led to disincentives for self-employment or job creation in one-person or micro enterprises before the financial recession? (Please briefly describe the major developments/initiatives (max. 300 words)

As discussed above the current scheme for facilitating one-person enterprises was only introduced in August 2008, i.e. on the verge of the recession, and implemented in January 2009. Pre-existing regulation to set up a business in France was widely regarded as excessively bureaucratic and was thus identified as one of the reasons for the low rate of entrepreneurs in France, especially for one-person and micro enterprises. The general trend since the 1990s is to remove disincentives to set up a business although difficulties persist, in particular with regards to cutting red tape and access to funding.

Thus, in spite of all efforts, the bureaucratic burden remains. According to a recently published report by the Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Confédération Générale des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises, CGPME) a micro enterprise with less than five employees has to issue 38 statements, deal with eight public agencies and remit 30 payments annually. Moreover, micro enterprises are often affected by long response periods. The permission to construct an industrial building, for instance, takes between three months and a year. Another disadvantage for one-person and micro enterprises are high lump-sum administrative charges that put a proportionally greater burden on the budget of small enterprises. A permission to bottle water, for instance, costs some € 11,000 on average.

Furthermore, micro enterprises have to report to a variety of different authorities. For instance, self-employed and managers of managers of micro enterprises have to report their annual turnover about 15 times per year. A major claim of the CGPME is thus to simplify the bureaucratic process for one-person and micro enterprises and to improve the communication between the ministries and public authorities.


2.2 Have public measures (e.g. with the aim to increase public revenue or cut public spending) led to disincentives for self-employment or job creation in one-person or micro enterprises as a result of the financial recession? (Please describe – max. 300 words)

No. This is mainly because the French austerity package to tackle the impact of the crisis largely spared the economy but aimed at cutting expenses in the public sector. Thus, the CGPME identifies two tax reforms that had a considerable impact on one-person and micro enterprises since 2008. First, the introduction of the Local Tax for External Advertisement (Taxe locale sur la publicité extérieure, TLPE) is expected to increase the fiscal burden particularly for small and medium enterprises. It is, however, not a new tax but replaces three old taxing schemes. Moreover, the implementation of the new scheme was part of the 2008 Law for the Modernisation of the Economy, which makes it a pre-crisis measure. Second, the contribution which retailers that distribute music have to pay to the Association for the Collection of Sustainable Remuneration (Société pour la perception de la rémunération equitable, SPRE) has been increased from 18% to 35%. According to the CGPME that affects micro enterprises in particular. The raise is, however, not an anti-crisis measure either but rather a reaction to the loss of revenue of the music industry due to illegal music downloads.

3. Representation of/lobbying for self-employed and micro enterprises


Are self-employed and micro enterprises in your national context explicitly or implicitly (e.g. entrepreneurs or SMEs in general) represented by the following types of organisations (e.g. for lobbying, defending their interest etc.)?

Table 4: Representation of self-employed and micro enterprises
 

Self-employed

Micro enterprises

Employers’ organisations

Yes, explicitly by CGPME and implicitly by the Craftwork Employers' Association (Union professionnelle artisanale, UPA)

Yes, explicitly by CGPME and implicitly by the Craftwork Employers' Association (Union professionnelle artisanale, UPA)

Employees’ organisation

No, because self-employed are not considered as employees. Some unions discuss the ‘precarity’ of being self-employed under the new regulation.

Yes, implicitly. All five representative trade unions have some limited information about and for employees in micro enterprises. There is no specialised employee organisation that takes care of workers in micro enterprises.

Not-for-profit organisations

No.

No.

Others

Yes, explicitly by the Federation of Self-Employed (Fédération des auto-entrepreneurs, FEDEA) and the Union of Self-Employed (Union des Auto-Entrepreneurs, UAE).

Yes, explicitly by the Federation of Very Small Enterprises (Fédération des Très Petites Entreprises, FTPE).

Part 2: Identification and description of relevant recent support instruments

The following section asks for the identification of public or social partner based support instruments initiated during or after the recent economic crisis (that is, 2008 onwards). These measures might have, but must not necessarily have been triggered by the recession. Measures may also have been initiated earlier, but changed in order to adapt to the recession or other recent developments. Rather than a comprehensive list of all instruments available at national, regional or local level, the most important, most innovative, most interesting and most effective tools are to be described. Thereof, a selection of up to three ‘Good Practices’ to be described in more detail is to be made.

1. Selection of region(s) when total coverage of the entire regional and local level is too comprehensive

When providing the brief overview and the three ‘Good Practices’ in this section of the questionnaire, measures and instruments at national level have to be included. We would in addition ask you to include regional and local level initiatives where relevant. Nonetheless, a complete coverage of regional and local levels may not be possible for all countries (e.g. because of a high degree of decentralisation resulting in a wide range of respective measures characterised by considerably heterogeneity). At the same time, it can be assumed that for instruments targeting at supporting self-employment and the creation of employment in one-person and micro enterprises the local administrative level is of considerable importance. If so, such measures will be designed to fit to the local characteristics and needs, resulting in a wide variety of different approaches. In this case, one or few local areas or regions may be selected to be covered in this report. Details on the selection are given in table 5.

Public support instruments for the creation of enterprises are well covered by the European Employment Observatory Review on self-employment. For this reason, this report will focus on measures at regional level.

Since the introduction of a radically simplified mechanism to set up one-person enterprises, so-called auto-entrepreneurs, most new business creations take this form. According to figures from the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques, INSEE), there is a sharp increase of auto-entrepreneurs whereas the number of other types of business creation declines slightly. In 2010, about there were about 5.6 inscriptions to the auto-entrepreneur scheme per 1,000 inhabitants. There are, however, considerable regional differences. This report will present two regions (NUTS2) to reflect the diversity. The Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region has the highest ratio of new auto-entrepreneurs per 1,000 inhabitants (8.5), Picardie the lowest (3.7). The aim is to show regional differences in public instruments to support self-employment in regions with different ‘success’ to promote self-employment.

Table 5: Administrative level/region(s) covered for the following research (max. 50 words per region)
Administrative level relevant for the rest of the questionnaire Regional level

If a specific regional/local are is selected, please provide the following information

Name of region

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Motivation for selecting this region

Highest ratio of new auto-entrepreneurs per 1,000 inhabitants (8.5) in France

Facts about the region e.g.

- Geographic location

- No. of inhabitants

- Business structure (sector, size)

- Labour market

- Specific characteristics if applicable

- South-eastern France

- 4,882,913 (2008)

- Many micro enterprises (94%, 92% in France)

- 83% of employment in the tertiary sector (2008)

- Overrepresentation of sectors that create employment in France (aeronautics, electronic components, pharmaceuticals, water, gas, electricity)

- Traditionally high rate of enterprise creation

Name of region

Picardie

Motivation for selecting this region

Lowest ratio of new auto-entrepreneurs per 1,000 inhabitants (3.7) in France

Facts about the region e.g.

- Geographic location

- No. of inhabitants

- Business structure (sector, size)

- Labour market

- Specific characteristics if applicable

- Northern France

- 1,906,601 (2008)

- Rural region with strong agricultural sector

- 19% of regional added value by the industrial sector (2007, 14% in France, most important: plastics processing, metal processing, mechanics, food industry, some aeronautics and automotive industry)

- Retail and service just below 50% (56% in France)

- Unemployment above national average

- Relatively low-skilled workforce

- Characterised by large enterprises in the agricultural and food industry

2. Brief overview of recent instruments to foster self-employment or job creation in one-person and micro enterprises


2.1. Please provide a brief description (max. 800 words) of public or social partner based instruments recently initiated (2008 onwards) to support self-employment and job creation in one-person or micro enterprises.

Measures covered by the European Employment Observatory Review on self-employment 2010, European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities are to be omitted to avoid duplication (see Part 3 of this questionnaire).

This section lists public support instruments to support self-employment and job creation at the national and regional level. Unfortunately, it was not possible to ascertain if the instruments were introduced as a direct reaction to the crisis. Moreover, some instruments do not mention explicitly the size of the eligible business but are designed in a way that they are particularly attractive for the creation of one-person of micro enterprises. A database that collects a wide range of public support measures for all kinds of enterprises is provided by the Higher Institute of Craftsmanship (Institut supérieur des metiers, ISM).

National Measures

Title

Reforme de l’impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (IDF)

Reform of the solidarity tax on wealth

Aim/objective

To simplify the wealth tax system and to relive the holders of smaller assets

Description of support

The threshold for paying the tax was increased from €800,000 to €1.3 million, the tax rate was simplified and the tax shield abandoned.

Target group

All asset holders but according to CGPME small enterprises will benefit from the reform because the often hold assets of more than €800,000 and €1.3 million.

Initiator and other actors involved

National government and parliament

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

Permanent, no direct impact of the financial crisis.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Title

Aide à l’émergence de microprojets

Help for the emergence of micro projects

Aim/objective

Support to realise micro projects

Description of support

A grant of € 23,000 - € 25,000 for the development of a project, consultancy, initial studies or investment

Target group

Small associations or cooperatives with very few or no employees

Initiator and other actors involved

Regional Council, Directorate for Employment and Career Development (Direction de l’Emploi et de la sécurisation des parcours professionnels)

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

2008-2010

No special reference to the crisis

Title

Développeur de projets locaux créateurs d’activités et d’emplois

Local Project Development for the Creation of Activity and Employment

Aim/objective

Support organisations to create a job in a local development project

Description of support

Wage subsidies of maximum €40,000/year for 3 years

Target group

Local development agencies

Initiator and other actors involved

Regional Council

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

2008-2010

No special reference to the crisis

Title

Fonds de confiance

Confidence Fund

Aim/objective

To support the creation of ‘social enterprises’ that create jobs for people in difficult situations

Description of support

Up to 70% of the overall expenses of the enterprise

Target group

Social entrepreneurs

Initiator and other actors involved

Regional Council, Directorate for Employment and Career Development (Direction de l’Emploi et de la sécurisation des parcours professionnels), Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Economic Solidarity and Active Insertion (Économie Solidaire et Insertion Active, ESIA)

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

2008-2010

No special reference to the crisis

Title

Les coopératives d’activités

‘Activity Cooperatives’

Aim/objective

Help to set up and test a business project

Description of support

The project developer is employed by a cooperative, receives a salary and the normal social protection of an employee. In the meantime they can test their business ideas and receive support from a network of experts. In return they pay 10% of their income to the cooperative over the period of employment.

Target group

People with a business project

Initiator and other actors involved

Regional Council, Directorate for Employment and Career Development (Direction de l’Emploi et de la sécurisation des parcours professionnels)

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

2008-2010

No special reference to the crisis

Title

Outils de financement

Financial Support

Aim/objective

To support business creation

Description of support

Financial support for business creations, in particular loans

Target group

People with a business project

Initiator and other actors involved

Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Economic Solidarity and Active Insertion (Économie Solidaire et Insertion Active, ESIA)

Platform for Local Initiatives (Les Plates-formes d’Initiative Locale, PFIL)

Association for the Right to Economic Initiative (Association pour le Droit à l'Initiative Économique, ADIE)

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

undated

Title

Programme régional d’appui à l’installation

des jeunes agriculteurs

Regional Programme to support the Setup of Young Farmers

Aim/objective

To support young people to set up an agricultural business

Description of support

Financial support for the realisation of the project, in particular through direct subsidies and advancements

Target group

Young farmers

Initiator and other actors involved

Regional Council

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

2008-2010

No special reference to the crisis

Picardie

Title

Fonds Régional d’Aide au Conseil (FRAC)

Regional Fund for Access to Consultancy

Aim/objective

To support small and medium-sized enterprises to gain access to advice from an external consultancy firm

Description of support

Financial support, max. € 30,000.

Target group

Enterprises with a maximum 250 employees from several sectors

Initiator and other actors involved

Regional Council

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

Undated

Title

Avance Régionale à la Reprise et à la Création d’Entreprises (ARRCE)

Regional Advance Payment for the Transfer and Creation of Enterprises

Aim/objective

To facilitate and encourage the creation and transmission of enterprises in the Picardie region

Description of support

Start-up aid between € 30,000 and € 300,000 that has to be paid back within 5 years

Target group

Businesses that have been created or been taken over recently

Initiator and other actors involved

Directorate of Economic Affairs, Regional Council

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

Undated

Title

Avance Remboursable à l’Artisanat (ARA)

Advance Payment for Craft Businesses

Aim/objective

To support and attract investment in the craft sector

Description of support

Financial aid between € 10,000 and € 30,000 (max. 30% of overall investment)

Target group

Regional craft businesses

Initiator and other actors involved

Departmental Chamber of Craftsmanship (Chambre Départementale de Métiers et de l'Artisanat)

Picardie Regional Chamber of Craftsmanship (Chambre Régionale de Métiers et de l'Artisanat de Picardie)

Regional Council

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

Undated

Title

Fonds pour l'Innovation en Picardie (FIP)

Innovation Fund Picardie

Aim/objective

To boost investment in innovative businesses in the region

Description of support

Financial support, mainly as direct subsidies

Target group

Regional businesses, in particular SMEs

Initiator and other actors involved

OSEO (Support agency for the development of SMEs)

Regional Council

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

Undated

Title

Le Fonds transmission d’entreprises

Business Transfer Fund

Aim/objective

Facilitate business transfers, modernisation of transferred businesses

Description of support

Subsidies and loans without interest

Target group

Regional enterprises

Initiator and other actors involved

Regional Council

Duration (please also indicate whether the measures has been initiated due to the recession)

Undated


2.2. In-depth description of ‘Good Practices’

Please choose up to three examples from the above list that can be considered as ‘Good Practice’ (e.g. because of their effectiveness, innovative character or beneficial cooperation among different stakeholders) and describe them in detail.

Three examples of recent support instruments are provided in this section. The first two examples are from the regions that have been chosen for the previous section. The first example was chosen because it aims at combining two main concerns of French economic and employment policy – innovation and youth employment. The second best practise was chosen because it combines a wide range of actors. Finally, the third example is a case in point for a local initiative that makes more explicit reference to one-person and micro enterprises. It is also from a region, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, where the ratio of auto-entrepreneur inscriptions per 1,000 inhabitants is very low (3.92).

Name of the programme/instrument

Prêt Régional à la Création-Innovation (PRCI)

Regional Credit for Innovative Business Creation

Is the instrument explicitly addressing any of the following: Self-employment Hiring the first employee Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises
Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant   X X
Operational level Local Regional National
Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant   X  

Rationale/motivation for the instrument

(please describe)

The rationale for this programme is to help young enterprises which have difficulties to access bank loans in order to finance early innovative investments and job creation. It is designed for enterprises which could not launch their products yet.

Purpose and aims for the instrument (please describe)

The purpose is to encourage the region’s innovation policy and to support young enterprises in their development and in the creation of jobs.

Initiator
Please ‘X’      
Other stakeholders actively involved in implementation (please name them and describe their roles)

Regional Chambers of Commerce help with the implementation and are a first contact point for interested employers.

Target groups        
Please describe the target groups (sector, age, level of education, gender)

Regional micro enterprises and SMEs that have been established less than three years ago in stable economic conditions. They must handle all social and fiscal duties themselves and not belong to a group with more than 2,000 employees.

Funding        
Please describe the funding of the instrument/programme (national and European sources, budget available)

The Regional Council in cooperation with support agency for the development of SMEs, OSEO.

Activities    
Please describe the activities of the programme or institutional initiative as detailed as possible

The Regional Credit for Innovative Business Creation is an interest-free credit that is granted by the Regional Council and its partners. The funding is earmarked to an innovative investment and may not exceed 50% of the total investment and 40% of the total programme. The maximum amount of credit is €150,000.

Innovative investments eligible for funding must be part of a programme to launch a product, a service, or create an innovative process. Funding is only granted before the launch of the new product. It may be used for the development of a pilot product, tools, pre-production studies, market research, expenses for test runs, etc.

Results (Effectiveness)      
Please describe the results e.g. number of beneficiaries, advised enterprises

The only evaluation available is from September 2009. According to this research 95 enterprises received an interest-free credit in 2008. The total amount of all credits in the same period was € 20,295,000.

Challenges in order to reach the objectives e.g. for the organisation offering the instrument, the entrepreneurs (Please describe); and if available how these have been overcome  
Assessments of the effectiveness e.g. investments made in order to reach the objectives of the programme (outcome vs. investment) (Please base this assessment on evaluations when possible)  
Outcomes (Efficiency)  
Increasing self-employment, growth and employment e.g. number of start-up and/or jobs created etc. (please describe, preferably based on evaluations, otherwise on experts’ assessment)  
Please provide link to evaluation documents if possible

http://www.pacainnovation.com/uploads/media/Diagnostic_de_l_innovation_en_Provence_Alpes_Cote_d_Azur.pdf

Example 2:

Name of the programme/instrument

Picardie Investissement

Picardie Investment

Is the instrument explicitly addressing any of the following:

Self-employment

Hiring the first employee

Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

X

X

X

Operational level

Local

Regional

National

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

 

X

 

Rationale/motivation for the instrument

(please describe)

The rationale for the establishment of Picardie Investment in 1985 was to support the creation and early period of local SMEs and micro enterprises. It was set up as an organisation that is close to and has considerable expertise of the local economy. For this purpose, Picardie Investment also builds on a network of both public and private regional actors (see below).

Purpose and aims for the instrument (please describe)

Picardie Investment is an investment fund. The purpose is to establish mid- to long-term relationships with new businesses with a focus on sustainability. It is supposed to reduce the risk for the entrepreneur as both gains and losses are shared. Moreover, as a minority owner, the fund provides expertise and seeks to facilitate the establishment of the enterprise.

Initiator
Please ‘X’    
Other stakeholders actively involved in implementation (please name them and describe their roles)

Picardie Investment is owned by some regional actors involved in business development as well as regional authorities. These are (see also figure below):

- Picardie Regional Council (Région Picardie)

- The semi-cooperative banking group Caisse d'Epargne

- The financial services group CIN-CIC

- The banking group Crédit Agricole

- CDC Entreprises, financial institution that is specialised in funding small enterprises

Other stakeholders and their roles are:

For institutional support

- The support agency for the development of SMEs OSEO

- The regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Chambre Régionale de Commerce et d'Industrie, CRCI)

- The departmental Aisne Development Agency (Agence Développement Aisne, ADA)

- The employers’ network Réseau Entreprendre

For technical support

- The i-Trans competitiveness cluster

- The agricultural research network IAR

- The University of Technology of Compiègne (Université de Technologie de Compiègne, UTC)

- The University of Picardie Jules Verne (Université de Picardie Jules-Verne, UPJV)


Target groups        
Please describe the target groups (sector, age, level of education, gender)

SMEs and micro enterprises in all sectors that have been newly established or are about to do so.

Funding        
Please describe the funding of the instrument/programme (national and European sources, budget available)

In 2010, the investment fund had a capital base of € 33 million. Its shareholders are a mix of private and public actors.

Activities    
Please describe the activities of the programme or institutional initiative as detailed as possible

There are three different funds available. Picardie Capital Innovation, set up just before the crisis, supports the creation of regional businesses. The fund, in cooperation with local universities and other research facilitates, places an emphasis on technology-oriented projects. It may buy minority shares of a value of € 30,000 to €150,000.

The Picardie Avenir (Picardie Future) fund aims to improve the financial situation of newly established businesses in the Picardie region. It can also invest in enterprises in financial difficulties after a business transfer. Picardie Avenir buys minority shares of a value of €30,000 to €160,000, but not above 30% of the company’s total value.

Finally, the fund can also support established enterprises. Specific measures that are eligible for funding include company development, expansion, acquisition of minority shares, business transfers, etc. The fund may buy minority shares of a value of € 150,000 to € 2 million.

Results (Effectiveness)      
Please describe the results e.g. number of beneficiaries, advised enterprises

Picardie Investment currently holds shares of 39 local enterprises.

Challenges in order to reach the objectives e.g. for the organisation offering the instrument, the entrepreneurs (Please describe); and if available how these have been overcome  
Assessments of the effectiveness e.g. investments made in order to reach the objectives of the programme (outcome vs. investment) (Please base this assessment on evaluations when possible)

According to the funds’ majority shareholder, the Regional Council, every Euro that is invested in an enterprise by Picardie Investment triggers a total of € 10 investment in the region between 2000 and 2010.

Outcomes (Efficiency)  
Increasing self-employment, growth and employment e.g. number of start-up and/or jobs created etc. (please describe, preferably based on evaluations, otherwise on experts’ assessment)

Since 2000, Picardie Investment has invested some € 49 million in more than 80 enterprises and concerned some 7,500 employees. Their investment triggered further investment of almost € 500 million.

Please provide link to evaluation documents if possible

http://www.picardie-investissement.fr/

http://www.bilansgratuits.fr/PICARDIE-INVESTISSEMENT-SA--33155452700050.htm

http://www.picardie.fr/Picardie-Investissement,3874

Example 3:

Name of the programme/instrument

Aide aux TPE (ATPE)

Support for micro enterprises

Is the instrument explicitly addressing any of the following:

Self-employment

Hiring the first employee

Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

X

   

Operational level

Local

Regional

National

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

X

   

Rationale/motivation for the instrument

(please describe)

The rational for the establishment of the ATPE was that many one-person and micro enterprises did not have access to any of the instruments provided by the Regional Council of Nord-Pas de Calais. Therefore, a scheme was created that was supposed to boost entrepreneurship and employment.

Purpose and aims for the instrument (please describe)

The purpose of this instrument is to create employment through the creation of micro enterprises in urban and rural areas in a socio-economically difficult situation in the agglomeration community of Douaisis in the department Nord in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.

The creators of the project also expected a positive social impact of the measure as micro enterprises should tighten the social links in their communities.

Initiator
Please ‘X’  

X

   
Other stakeholders actively involved in implementation (please name them and describe their roles)

The agglomeration community cooperated with local consular chambers (chambres consulaires) which served as prescriber and local business creation support agencies (Boutiques de Gestion Espace, BSE) which assisted the business founders in their first year of activity.

Target groups        
Please describe the target groups (sector, age, level of education, gender)

One-person and micro enterprises with not more than five employees and which have been created in the previous year. The enterprise must be in one of the designated areas.

Funding        
Please describe the funding of the instrument/programme (national and European sources, budget available)

Funded by the agglomeration community Douaisis

Annual budget in 2009: € 55,000

Activities    
Please describe the activities of the programme or institutional initiative as detailed as possible

The entrepreneur presents his project and, if applicable, the created jobs. Those who are eligible receive subsidiaries of 10-15% of the initial investment but not more than € 15,000. Enterprises are typically granted an amount between € 800 and € 12,000. The amount is calculated according to the number of jobs created with a maximum of € 6,000 per new job.

Results (Effectiveness)      
Please describe the results e.g. number of beneficiaries, advised enterprises

An evaluation was issued for the years 2007-9. In this period there were:

- € 177,000 subsidies paid to local micro enterprises

- 54 enterprises received funding and 51 of them still existed in late 2009

- 64% of the new enterprises were in the commerce sector

Challenges in order to reach the objectives e.g. for the organisation offering the instrument, the entrepreneurs (Please describe); and if available how these have been overcome  
Assessments of the effectiveness e.g. investments made in order to reach the objectives of the programme (outcome vs. investment) (Please base this assessment on evaluations when possible)

According to local authorities the instrument has been a success so far. On average every newly established business created two new jobs.

Outcomes (Efficiency)  
Increasing self-employment, growth and employment e.g. number of start-up and/or jobs created etc. (please describe, preferably based on evaluations, otherwise on experts’ assessment)

According to local authorities the measure has boosted self-employment and created jobs (see above). Crucial success factors were the simple design of the instrument which might allow it to implement it elsewhere.

Please provide link to evaluation documents if possible

http://www.aides-entreprises.fr/etudes/bp/30

Part 3: Annex: Update on recent self-employment study

The recent European Employment Observatory Review on self-employment 2010, European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities provides insight into support instruments for self-employment. To avoid duplication of this information, we ask you as National Correspondent to omit these measures already covered in your research (Part 2 of this questionnaire), and only update or add any additional details or measures that exceed the information already provided in this report.

Table 8: Additional information on specific instruments to the EEO national report on self-employment:

Title of the instrument

Auto-entrepreneur scheme

Additional information

Since the publication of the EEO report three deputies of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, UMP) have issued an evaluation of the scheme. Their assessment is largely positive underlining the 600,000 new one-person enterprises that have been created since the introduction of the programme. The deputies make a few propositions for reforms of the scheme, in particular with regards to controls in order to detect abuse, the regulation of fiscal and social contributions, and training. The Confederation of Craftsmen and Small Building Enterprises (Confédération de l’Artisanat et des Petites Entreprises du Bâtiment, CAPEB, member of UPA) emphasises the negative impacts of the auto-entrepreneurships, in particular with regards to what they call ‘unfair competition’.

Table 9: Please add any other comments to the EEO national report on self-employment:

Table 10: Please indicate ‘X’ if you have no additional information to the EEO national report on self-employment:

Please indicate ‘X’ if you have no additional information to provide

 

Commentary

Although entrepreneurship in France is still less developed than in most other Western European countries there is now a wide range of public instruments to support the creation and maintenance of businesses at national and regional level. It is widely undisputed that the 2008 Law for the Modernisation of the Economy and the introduction of the auto-entrepreneur status was the major reform to push forward self-employment in France. A few examples of other instruments to support business creation are presented here. Most come in the form of financial help through the non-interest credits or subsidiaries. The third example above shows, however, that the instruments are not always tailored for one-person and micro enterprises. This highlights the need for schemes, such as the ATPE, that are designed according to the needs of very small businesses.

In addition, a major burden for one-person and micro enterprises is bureaucracy. As briefly discussed above, businesses with relatively small budgets suffer more from high processing costs and might have difficulties in bridging long respond periods from the local authorities. Time-intensive administrative obligations are a common complaint of micro enterprises. For this reason, it was one of the main aims of the auto-entrepreneur scheme to reduce bureaucracy. It might be worth considering expanding the relatively simple administrative process to more micro businesses.

With regards to actors involved in public support schemes the strong dominance of the state is striking. The examples below show, however, that there are numerous partnerships with semi-public bodies, such as OSEO, or private actors, in particular banks. Social partners do not seem to play a considerable role in the design and application of public instruments to support self-employment.

Sebastian Schulze-Marmeling, HERA

Annex

Figure 1 gives a rough indication of the incidence of the term ‘entrepreneur’ in the news (below) and as a search term in Google. The news indicator goes up when the Law for the Modernisation of the Economy (Loi de modernisation de l'économie) started to be discussed publically and the search indicator skyrocketed after the law had been passed. The bill included substantive reforms of the French self-employment scheme. Similar searches for ‘hiring the first employee’ and ‘hiring additional employees’ did not deliver noteworthy results although some instruments to support job creation exist.




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