2021, A Top Reach Of 1 Million French Entrepreneurs
Despite the Covid-19 crisis, entrepreneurship still seems to motivate French people. Different studies show encouraging results for entrepreneurship, but also optimistic signs from French companies which continue to prove their resilience.
2021 was a successful year for entrepreneurship. In a national survey lead by IFOP, the French Institute of Public Opinion, and commissioned by the Observatoire Bpifrance Création, the company creation observatory, revealed last December that almost one third of the French population takes part in entrepreneurship. Among those who didn’t, more than half of them have already thought about creating their own business.
What do French entrepreneurs look like?
The study conducted by IFOP identifies four kinds of entrepreneur profiles: business owners, former business owners, project initiators, wantrepreneurs. Among the many reasons behind these entrepreneurship ambitions, the most emergent are about being their own boss and fulfilling a dream. They have other inspirations as their perceive innovation and green-friendly approaches as important for their businesses. French entrepreneurship also seems to be a matter of age: half of those under 30 are involved in entrepreneurship.
Despite all these entrepreneurship dreams, 3 out of 4 entrepreneurs said to have been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis: change in work situation, business closing, … If the health crisis has brought its share of difficulties, an important number of project initiators and wantrepreneurs still value its positive impact: more time to develop their ideas or change insights on their projects, new opportunities to buy businesses, and so on. Moreover, 1 out of 5 business owners have taken the opportunity of the Covid-19 crisis to reflect on their vision of their company, to change their strategy or to create new products or services. “There is no doubt that there will be more and more entrepreneurs in France and therefore a need for reinforced support to promote the sustainability and growth of these companies, a vector for the creation of value and the jobs of tomorrow. These issues are at the heart of Bpifrance’s strategy to serve the future” said Bpifrance’s CEO Nicolas Dufourcq. This is all the truer as French companies are gradually starting to see their activities return to normal.
French SMEs gain confidence for 2022
A recent Bpifrance Le Lab study on the economic situation of SMEs shows that by the end of 2022, two-thirds of SMEs should have recovered or exceeded their pre-crisis level of activity. « The rebound in VSE and SME activity has been much more pronounced than anticipated last May » explains Philippe Mutricy, Director of Research at Bpifrance. By the end of 2021 already, 41% of companies say to have returned to or exceeded their pre-crisis level of activity. 65% think they have enough cash flow to overcome the crisis, a proportion that has been rising steadily since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, and despite a clear rebound in employment especially in services and in industry, 82% of companies declare that they are experiencing difficulties in hiring. While these difficulties could weigh on the recovery, they do not dampen the spirits of managers who are still revising their business, employment and investment prospects upwards.
La French Tech keeps breaking records
Exactly 995,868 companies were created in 2021, which represents a surge of 17,4% compared with 2020, an historical record, according the Insee, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. The institute reveal other positive results in 2021: 84 industrial sites were opened, which is twice as more than those which closed (+21.9% compared with 2020). A positive impact for employment in rural areas, as Agnès Pannier-Runnacher, Minister Delegate for the Industry, underlines: “Industry represents 70% of jobs in less than 20,000 inhabitants’ towns.”
France Relance, which is the economic recovery plan implemented by the French government after the Covid-19 health crisis, has supported 624 company reshoring. Indeed, reshoring represent an important part of the recovery plan strategy to revitalize strategic industry sectors such as healthcare, agri-food or telecoms, and for them to become more autonomous.
Finally, 2021 was a particularly thriving year for La French Tech. “Digital is one of the sectors that creates the most jobs; La French Tech raised more funds in a single day than in the whole of 2015, we have gone from 3 unicorns in 2017 to more than 22 this year« , explains Cédric O, Secretary of State for the Digital Economy. Sorare, Mirakl and Contentsquare are the 3 biggest French fundraisers of the year, with more than €1.7 billion raised. 2022 promises to be just as flourishing for French unicorns, with three newcomers already on the list before mid-January: Payfit, Ankorstore and Qonto.