PME FINANCE: A CLUB TO RETHINK ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Jean Rognetta, Forbes magazine Editor in France, co-founded PME Finance, or Europe Entrepreneurs, in 2010. The association is a ‘think tank’ (a body of experts providing ideas on specific economic problems) supported by Finance professionals. They discuss subjects that may hamper or accelerate entrepreneurship in Europe.
After the Financial crisis of 2008, when questions about the financing of venture capital and the survival of small and medium business were publicly debated in Europe, the scenario changed completely. The election of the president Emmanuel Macron, for example, brought confidence and more dynamics for entrepreneurship in France, says Rognetta.
While the United States deals with the inconsistencies of president Donald Trump’s administration and the United Kingdom looks for a decent outcome for Brexit, France lives one of its best moments, according to the journalist.
For how long the optimism will endure is hard to predict. But, no matter the outcome, Europe Entrepreneurs will continue to critically analyse all the scenarios. Check out the video interview (transcript below).
I’m Forbes editor for France and I created in 2010 a professional association on the Financing and SMEs: SME Finance or Europa Entrepreneurs. It is more than a club. It is made of several clubs of entrepreneurs that gather on particular questions that hamper or can accelerate their growth. So we have technology issues, financing issues, any issue that will help develop entrepreneurship in Europe or that will gather European entrepreneurs wherever they are.
What inspired you?
Originally, we thought about it in 2008, 2009: ‘it might be the end of the world, back to the 30’s, and the big financial crisis’. In that context, the two most worrisome factors were venture capital and the financing of innovation in general. And the final thing of small and medium businesses, because they are the riskier. In France and in Europe everybody was wondering whether venture capital would survive. There was never any question about it in America, but in Europe that was a big question. And, whether it would have a credit crunch for small and medium businesses. These were the questions PME Finance was born upon and grew from there.
What are the mean challenges?
Entrepreneurs have come a long way since 2010, because financing issues have been solved. Just to take an example, venture capital financing has grown more than threefold from about 600 million to not so far of 2 billion euros (1,8 billion euros)
The election of president Emmanuel Macron has restored optimism. Everything that used to be said about France (the tax heard and all that) is getting better. The country is in deep strength: high talent, low cost, extremely high quality of life, (just try the food!).
And those are the things that are in everybody’s minds while Britain is preparing Brexit and America is just living the land of common sense. Now is France’s moment. How long is it going to last? How long and how the French tech will whether the eventual turning of the economic cycle and the investment cycle remains to be seen.
But now, thanks to Brexit, and to president (Donald) Trump, it is definitely France’s moment.
What is your tip for entrepreneurs?
The real advice is: not simply come to France, but look at your market, at what you got to do. Location, except if you’re building up a hotel, location is not that important. This is a global world.