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 2017, the SME Observatory publishes for the second time an English summarized report of its annual report on French SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises (ISEs).
The 13th annual edition of the SME Trends Report gives a multifaceted and comprehensive overview of the sources of growth of French SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises (ISEs) in 2016. It looks back over the past five to ten years, to show the effects of the crisis being swept aside.
In 2016, for the second year in a row, the economic and financial position of SMEs and ISEs improved. The year saw an upturn in business start-ups and SME capital expenditure, together with a further fall in failures in businesses of all sizes (micro-enterprises, SMEs and ISEs), to below the symbolic threshold. These French SMEs, with micro-enterprises out in front, are increasing their exports, patent filing and R&D and innovation involvement to a greater extent than other categories of business.
Indicators across the board suggest that the recovery in SME and ISE business activity has spread to almost all French regions and business sectors. As a result, 2016 ended at a level as good as the pre-crisis situation if not better. Highlights of the year included some turning points in trends and behaviour, while others give assurance that these companies are on course to forge ahead.
With over 554,000 companies set up in France in 2016, the entrepreneurship trend was up by 6%, marking a six-year high. Once again, the most popular form of company was limited companies and traditional sole trader businesses, rather than registrations under the micro-entrepreneur regime.
For the first time since the beginning of 2009, business failures fell below 59,000. This applied to all businesses, in particular the very smallest. In most sectors and in many regions, the higher SME and ISE business failure rate attributable to the crisis is a thing of the past. The trends remain favourable for 2017.
After six years of continuing decline, SME capital expenditure kicked off again in 2016 (+2.7%), particularly in the construction and transport sectors. This happened against a background of not only renewed growth in their turnover (+3%), in their generated value added (+3.7%), and in their economic return, but also a continuous strengthening in their equity, which now represents 42% of the capital employed.
In a context of slowing world trade, exports by micro-enterprises (+3.1%) and SMEs that are not micro-enterprises (+2.5%) rose significantly, giving growth in French exports a boost. In 2016, around 26,000 companies started to export for the first time. Most of them were not part of a group and were heavily dependent on one product or one destination.
SMEs are still very active in R&D. The SME category of business incurs alone €5.1 billion of R&D expenditure. This figure is rising, particularly in micro-enterprises, once again boosting growth in in-house corporate R&D expenditure. On average they devoted 8.2% of their turnover to in-house R&D against 3% for all businesses as a whole that engage in R&D* work.
*Most recent available data: 2015.
*Most recent available data: 2015.
So choose a subject and let yourself be guided through its content.
If you need more information on French businesses, read “PME 2017”, the full version of the 2017 SME report (only in French).
To keep up-to-date with the analyses produced by the French SME Observatory:
Readers will discover an interactive document thanks to Beebuzziness technology:
Bpifrance’s SME Observatory has performed this 2017 SME Report with the backing of French as well as international partners.
To catch up with the latest news that will be published all along the year 2018.