Background to the programme
Founded in 1991, the Afile 77 association is a pioneering actor in the solidarity economy in Seine-et-Marne. It offers funding and support tools to create and manage very small enterprises (TPE). Though business creation can be a powerful driver of social integration, it can prove to be complex when its creator is in a difficult personal situation. Thus since 1999, Afile 77 has run a business incubator to facilitate self-employed people in Ile de France: "Couv'emploi".
Objectives of the programme
- Promoting the creation of business as a solution to integrating people in difficulty
- Support for job seekers in the setting up an entrepreneurial project
1) PROMOTION OF THE INCUBATOR: monthly information meetings on Afile 77 sites (Melun and Noisiel)
2) SELECTION OF INCUBATOR BUSINESSES
- Criteria: be a job seeker or a beneficiary of the social security minimum (RSA, specific solidarity allowance, widow allowance or integration allowance); lead a project that’s insurable under professional and civil liability and does not require significant investment at the start
- Validation of the candidates’ applications by the monthly selection committee. The selection process consists of: billing of the first customers, paying off the initial expenses and validation of the project’s profitability.
3) SIGNATURE OF A CAPE: Support Contract for an Entrepreneurial Project by candidates
4) TEST OF THE INCUBATOR BUSINESSES
- Search for the first customers, production and sale of the products or services before registration
- Verification of the financial and economic viability of the business and creation of a portfolio of clients before the actual establishment of the company
- The "profit" generated is returned after payment of social security contributions and a participation payment to the incubator of 5% of the revenue collected – Individual and Collective Support (skills development workshops in financial management, commercial enterprise and accessibility to accounting software)
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
- In 20 years, Afile 77 has supported and/or funded 3000 TPE, 330 associations and solidarity enterprises.
- In 2014 :
* € 214,000 of sales realised by the "incubator"
* 94 people supported as part of the incubator including 59 new ones (stable workforce for several years). Of the 46 companies who’ve left, 68% have positive outcomes (59% create a business, 7% CDI/CDD and 2% in skills training)
The Afile 77 incubator is the first created in Ile-de-France and to date, still the only one in Seine-et-Marne. Its originality lies in the fact that the project allows recipients to test their business while benefitting from management training, regardless of their level of education or financial situation. They can therefore assess their ability to undertake the project while enjoying regular professional advice on the creation of a business.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
- Actors in inclusion : Maison Départementale des Solidarités (MDS), Pôle Emploi, Association Aéronautique du Val d’Essonne (AAVE), Missions locales et Maisons de l’emploi
- Actors in entrepreneurship: Chambres consulaires, Boutiques de Gestion, Banques, Groupements de créateurs et agglomérations
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
Main current concern: the financing of the project, the cost of an incubated activity is approaching €3,500/year.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- Look for new financial partners, including agglomerations, to be part of the incubator’s financial partnerships
- Rethink the business model to reduce costs related to the project
Suggestions for future improvement :
Develop tools to network and to develop partnerships and customer relationships between incubated business and between incubated businesses and potential customers
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- Principles of the incubator:
* Test in a safe environment: creation of the company after checking its viability
* Conserve the social status and income of the incubator
- Continuous and practical study of entrepreneurship: daily tips to improve the projects (on average, seven months of coaching at a rate of 2 appointments/month); training; support setting up the management of the project; exchange and sharing of experiences
- Remote management of accounting via the Internet
- The resources available: human (individual support throughout the course) and financial (cash advance and access to microcredit)
- Duration of the Incubator: 6 to 12 months of support with project development
- Low cost of the incubator: 5% of revenue + quarterly contribution of €75