European Commission SME relief package impact in France
January 10, 2024
In September 2023, the European Commission announced an SME relief package to support the 24 million SMEs that represent 99% of all businesses in Europe. The package, a mix of streamlining administration processes and a support fund, has been created to support the cornerstone sector, which has felt the turbulence of the last few years. We spoke to Virginie Lopes in France, Directrice Marketing & Communication du réseau Exco, Exco SAS, to get an understanding of how this investment might support business in France.
SME relief package: Opportunities in France
Lopes believes the critical development on the horizon is the European Commission’s September announcement of a relief package for SMEs that offers tangible benefits for their clients, stating, “Reduced administrative hurdles streamline procedures, saving time and costs. This allows for smoother cross-border activities and better resource utilisation.”
These improvements are not to be overlooked. Administration costs can eat into cash flow, essential for riding out tough economic times, “Streamlining administrative procedures and facilitating cross-border activities through platforms like “Your Europe” can enable our clients to expand their market reach, tap into new opportunities, and foster international growth.”
In addition, Lopes highlights the access to financing, stating, “The availability of €200 billion in funding until 2027 offers a unique opportunity for our clients to fuel growth, innovation, and resilience within their businesses.”
Beyond finances, Lopes shares the significance of addressing skills shortages, saying, “Recognising qualifications from third-country nationals provides our clients with a more skilled workforce, aiding in tackling operational challenges and fostering innovation.”
The emphasis on sustainable finance aligns with evolving market demands. As Lopes notes, “Support for SMEs in adopting sustainable practices helps our clients align with consumer expectations and regulatory requirements.” Essentially, these measures create an ecosystem fostering growth and sustainability for French clients.
Trends and challenges
Reflecting on the past year, Lopes acknowledges France’s continued success in attracting foreign investment, particularly in industrial and R&D projects. However, Lopes cautions that internal and external challenges, such as inflation and geopolitical uncertainties, could impact the nation’s competitive standing. “France’s capability to attract businesses in innovative sectors is commendable, but challenges like inflation and geopolitical uncertainties add a layer of complexity.”
Lopes offers strategic insights for international businesses eyeing France in 2024, “Understanding the business environment is key. Familiarise yourself with French culture, regulations, and legal frameworks. Consult with local experts to navigate the market effectively.”
She also highlights the importance of local partnerships: “Establish collaborations with local entities. This enhances your understanding of the market and builds a foundation for successful operations.”
Adaptation to regulations is a key to success, “Ensure compliance with French business regulations, labour laws, and industry standards. This might involve adapting products, services, or processes to align with local requirements.”
Turning to talent acquisition, she advises, “Leverage France’s skilled workforce. Explore local talent pools and take advantage of incentives for hiring and training employees.”
“Market localisation is important to break into the market in France. Tailor your strategies to suit the French audience. Localisation enhances your market penetration and resonates with local consumers.”
Highlighting the rising importance of sustainability, Lopes encourages businesses to “Align practices with environmentally friendly approaches. This resonates well with the French market, which values eco-conscious initiatives.”
Lopes concludes with a nod to the power of networking, stating, “Engage in local networks, attend industry events, and participate in community initiatives. Building relationships within the French business community opens doors for opportunities.”
If you would like to know more about the SME packages available in France, please get in touch.