Many countries have found it an economic and political necessity to have an overview of the SMEs.

For thirteen years now, Bpifrance’s SME Observatory has performed this task for France with the backing of many reference partners.

With SME 2016, the SME Observatory publishes for the first time an English summarized report of its annual report on French SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises.

SME 2016: the financial and economic situation of French SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises got better in 2015

During 2015, the economic and financial situation of French SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises clearly started to recover. The macroeconomic environment became more favorable but still uncertain and CEOs remained cautious, according to the lower level of investments and the smaller number of new start-ups. However, the desire to export was still high among micro-businesses and SMEs. Intermediate-sized enterprises were more the driven factor for French innovation. The 2016 outlook seems to indicate a better business climate for all companies.

Some Key figures and Trends in 2015

(* In 2013  /  ** In 2014 – Last available data).

In Chapter 1 – Business demography and economic trends:

  • SMEs represent nearly half of companies’ workforce and added value in France*.
  • 525 000 businesses were created in France in 2015, less than the previous year.
  • 7% of French SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises find every year a new owner by sale or transmission.
  • The level of insolvencies in France did not change for the very small-sized companies, but it was up again for SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises.
  • The total turnover of SMEs grew by 1.7% in France.
  • More than 105 000 French SMEs sell their goods and services abroad.
  • French SMEs tend to receive more public procurement orders than before*.

In Chapter 2 – Business financial performance and way of financing:

  • The level of French SME capital expenditure fell for the fourth year in a row.
  • French private equity enhanced again and care more and more about unquoted French SMEs.
  • Three companies out of four listed on Euronext Paris are French Small- or Mid-Caps.
  • Access to external financing for SMEs was once again limited in the OECD countries, but the situation in France remained favourable**.
  • While the average payment term improved in Europe, French companies still have work to do.

In Chapter 3 – Business R&D and innovation behaviour:

  • SMEs account for almost one quarter of private in-house R&D expenditures in France**.
  • Companies with less than 250 employees and receiving research tax credit (CIR – Crédit d’Impôt Recherche) in France represent 90% of all recipients*.
  • More than 8 500 companies, especially SMEs, belong to the so called French “competitiveness clusters” (pôles de compétitivité).
  • While the number of patents granted to French SMEs was stable, there was a sharp increase considering intermediate-sized enterprises.
  • Since 2000, 3 700 start-ups have been created in France thanks to public funding (Concours i-Lab and public incubators).     
  • French JEI-type companies (Jeune entreprise innovante) invest and export rapidly despite somewhat tenuous finances.

So choose a subject and let yourself be guided through its content. Enjoy!

The SME Report, an interactive document for a new digital experience!

Readers will discover an interactive document thanks to Beebuzziness technology:

  • 100% environment-friendly with a professional quality on-demand printing system (Print on demand – POD)
  • 100% open data: analyses and data can be downloaded and shared
  • 100% mobile

Do you want more data and analysis?

If you need more information on French businesses, read “PME 2016”, the full version of the 2016 SME report (only in French). Or sign in to the SME “go with the flow” to receive articles updates throughout the year (only in French too).

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Bpifrance’s SME Observatory has performed this 2016 SME Report with the backing of twenty French as well as international partners.

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Read the english writings about the previous SME Reports