How The European Union Support Business Growth: French Entrepreneurs Testify
As France holds the Presidency of the European Union for 6 months, how do French entrepreneurs benefit from the European Union and Bpifrance supportive schemes in their ambition to develop on the European market?
For French entrepreneurs, exporting to the European market is innate and thought out from the start. It is the case for 7 of them, which share their own experience in a series of video: Aledia, Carbonex, Exotrail, Lauxera, Optimum Tracker, Robocath, and Roseanna. “Optimum Tracker is already a top player on the French market. We are experiencing a growth in Europe: we are currently building the biggest power plant in Eastern Europe, in Bulgaria, and we keep on growing, especially in Spain, in Italy, and in the Mediterranean countries”, explains Yacin de Welle, Chairman of the company that develops solar tracker for solar energy. Right next to French borders, the European market represents a close one for French entrepreneurs, both geographically and culturally. “Europe is our privileged market with customer and market requirements that we know how to meet”, said Pierre Soler-My, CEO of Carbonex, a sustainable charcoal and green energy producer.
Building European champions, a key role for sovereignty
Doing business on the continent is also part of a European identity and plays a key role in European sovereignty on the worldwide market. This is the ambition of Lauxera Capital Partners, an international asset management company that supports companies in healthcare: “As a reminder, there are 135 companies in the United States with a turnover of more than one billion dollars in medical technologies, 35 in Europe, and only one in France. Lauxera’s mission is very simple: its positioning is to invest in these European companies to make them world champions, especially by helping them succeed on the American market”, says Pierre Moustial, its founder and chairman. An ambition that Aledia and its CEO Giorgio Anania also share, as the company, specialist in innovative LED-display, “wants to bring back the production of next generation displays to Europe, which is one of the big future markets”.
Bpifrance and the European Union support, essential for companies’ development
Bpifrance and the European Union institutions play a key role to support companies with their ambitions. Among the different schemes, financing and guarantees help entrepreneurs in their development, at every stages. Nicolas Heitz, CEO of Exotrail, spatial mobility solutions specialist, gives the example of the European Investment Fund: “It allows two things: on the one hand, to maximize the cash impact, meaning that you don't have any cash which serves as a guarantee for the loans, and on the other hand, to relieve the entrepreneur, in the sense that there are no guarantees on his personal assets”.
But Bpifrance’s back up is essential to have partners’ attention. “It is a token of trust for our suppliers because when you are a young company, it is sometimes complicated to get future partners to trust you and to have Bpifrance’s guarantee is a huge help”, says Lucien Goffard, CEO of Robocath, that creates robotic equipment used in healthcare and especially for vascular diseases. A vision that Pierre Soler-My and his company Aledia, which benefited from a loan set up both by the European Union and Bpifrance, also share: “The loan set up by Bpifrance and Europe has enabled us to build up trust with our other investors. This helped us raise more funds compared to other financial partners”. “The European Investment Fund actually participated in our last fundraising round and that enabled us to reach our objectives in terms of raising capital. We therefore had the necessary size to participate, as a lead or as a co-lead, in all our discussions” adds Pierre Moustial, Founder and Chairman of Lauxera Capital Partners.
In the end, these seven French entrepreneurs that benefited from Bpifrance’s help are unanimous about the importance of its accompaniment. “It is a bank for entrepreneurs that understands its clients’ business models and provides customised support. Three key words that I retain from this partnership are optimism, proximity and anticipation”, concludes Barbara Quaranta, CEO of Roseanna, French brand of ready-to-wear clothes.
Find all the videos in the following YouTube playlist: