Everything You Need To Know About Financial Aid For Companies
Subsidies, 0% interest loans, tax relief… France stands out for its large number of financial aids for companies. According to a report by the French National Assembly published in 2021, there were no less than 1,846 public financial aids available for companies!
Some financial packages are available to all sole traders and corporations. Others are reserved for certain categories only, depending on, for example, the number of employees, the sector of activity and region or location of the business.
What are the main financial aids for companies in France?
Explore everything Dunkerque Promotion can do for you. We’re an economic development agency specialising in support for companies in the Hauts-de-France.
Financial aid for business start-ups
The aim of financial aid for business start-ups is to provide financial aid –and sometimes in-kind or administrative support– to project leaders. Are you a project leader and don’t yet know where you’d like to set up your company? Read this article to discover the most attractive regions for companies.
Now let’s move on to the various financial aids available. Although it’s impossible to list them all in full, here are the main financial packages that company founders can benefit from:
- The NACRE scheme (new support for a company start-up or takeover) is a financial aid for all company founders. It comprises a 0% interest loan of a maximum amount of €8,000. It also includes support at the time the company is set-up and for the first three years of business. This financial aid is perfect for founders and transferees.
- The ACRE (Social Charges Exemption), formerly the ACCRE (Start-up Social Security Relief), is intended for job seekers and young people between 18 and 25.  It provides full or partial exemption from social security contributions over the first year of business. It is means-tested.
- BPI France financial aids (formerly Oseo) can take many forms. These include liquidity credits which advance the funds needed to start a business. The transmission development programme is another aid to help buy a company. It is a loan of between €40,000 and 650,000.
- BPI France’s interest-free development loan (PH Solidaire) is a 0% interest loan for an amount between €1,000 and 8,000.  With a flexible term, it is repayable over 1 to 5 years with an adjustable grace period of 0 to 18 months.
- France 2030, a national scheme founded as a continuation of the France Relance economic recovery plan, is aid for companies that allows them to seek financial aid up to €40,000 per company, for a total of 30 billion euros spread over 5 years.
- Interest-free loans from the Initiative France platform are granted to start-up founders who agree to present their project before an approvals committee. They are granted for an average of 3 years and an average amount of €9,200.(Source: Initiative France – June 2022).
- Several national business start-up or takeover competitions may include a financial allocation that is very useful when it comes to getting a company off the ground.  They make creating or taking over a business much easier.
Covid-related Financial Aid
The unusual situation related to the global Coronavirus pandemic and the successive confinement and curfew measures have led to plenty of support being offered to companies:
Companies and corporations in France have benefited from four main measures:
- Short-time working scheme exemption measures have made it possible, in exceptional cases, to pay a higher replacement income to employees whose companies temporarily ceased trading. This scheme covered 100% of the cost of employees made partially redundant by employers who were affected by the health measures. 
- The aim of French State-guaranteed loans (PGE) is to support and ensure bank funding for companies during the health crisis period, with a full package of 300 billion euros . At the height of the pandemic and the confinement measures, this financial aid was applicable to companies of all sizes and legal statuses.
- The URSAFF (Social Security Contributions Collection Office) and other of social welfare bodies agreed to defer social security contributions in 2020 and 2021, taking into account the loss of revenue faced by many companies and their cash flow difficulties.
European Aid For Businesses
The European Union supports the creation and development of companies through bodies and initiatives financed by Community funds. If you’d like to learn more about the advantages of each European country, then here’s an article you might like: Why is it good to set up your company in Europe?
- The European Investment Fund (EIF) can take shares in business incubators, but also cover the bank guarantee for entrepreneurs looking for a loan.
- Through a financial intermediary, the European Investment Bank (EIB) can grant companies loans to further their development projects or innovative initiatives.
Furthermore, let’s distinguish between :
- Structural funds to finance local projects and efforts.
- Sectoral programmes for specific activity sectors or projects outside the local area.
- EU external action funding, reserved for development projects in countries outside the EU.
Environment- and climate-related aid for companies
The most ethical and innovative environmentally concerned companies can avail of the many financial aids provided by different institutions and representatives.
There are several European funds for research and innovation in the energy, climate and decarbonisation areas:
- The LIFE programme has a total package of 5.43 billion euros for the period between 2021 and 2027 inclusive. The subsidy rate for companies is between 60 and 75% of the amount of the eligible investment for the “environment” part, and between 60 and 95% for the “climate” part.
- Breakthrough Energy Catalyst (BEC) has a package of 820 million euros for the 2022-2026 period. It can subsidise up to 20% of clean energy-related investment projects: green hydrogen, direct air capture technologies, long-term energy conservation devices, etc.
Nationally, the financial aid provided by the ADEME (French Agency for Ecological Transition) contributes to certain investments in key areas related to the environment and decarbonisation:
- Waste heat recovery
- Heat network development
- Renewable energy (geothermal energy, biomass, solar thermal energy, hydrogen, etc.)
- Waste management
- Environmental performance of products and services (eco-conception)
These aids are funded by the Fonds Chaleur, which has a package of 2.6 billion euros to fund renewable energy and energy recovery (ENR&R).
Certain regions are very active on the topic. In the Hauts-de-France, the Rev3 programme (Third Industrial Revolution) invests in different fields of the future such as renewable energy, energy-plus buildings, energy storage capacities and even the Internet of Energy. Initiatives include:
- 500 million euro investment fund
- “Rev3 accelerators” with 6 months of support for company founders
- Eco-conception development
- Energy consumption optimisation
- Sustainable transformation of traditional economic models
Review your financial aid with Dunkerque Promotion
It can be difficult to navigate the different financial aid programmes for companies and the many bodies involved. A benchmark economic development agency in Maritime Flanders, Dunkerque Promotion gives you all the benefits of its expertise for your business set-up or growth project in the Dunkirk area.
- Help to find funding
- Connections to the public authorities
- Administrative and tax support
- Help to find commercial partners
- Help with recruitment and training
Obtaining a grant or 0% interest loan can be the much-needed helping hand when it comes to completing a finance plan and making a new business a reality. Don’t forget about this important component when you’re putting your project together.
There is so much regional, national and community financial aid for companies that they require specific expertise. Dunkerque Promotion provides support that helps you to find the right people and activate the right levers when it comes to seeking funding or a subsidy.
Three key points to remember
- There are hundreds of sectoral and general financial aids available to companies in France. They are complemented by local and European packages.
- From founding a company to a young enterprise or an innovation project, from an energy saving project to creating a recruitment plan or help with a takeover, there is financial aid for every step of your development journey.
- An economic development agency is the ideal point of contact to understand and support your financial aid and subsidy requirements.