Creating a business in the social and solidarity economy: the way forward


Organic restaurant, ressourcerie, publisher of applications for the disabled, consulting firm specializing in sustainable development, caretaker solidarity … You have an innovative project and socially useful and can not wait to make it a reality. But between the moment the idea springs and its realization, several stages are essential.

Produce a file presenting the project

Above all, put the idea of ​​your project on paper by asking as many questions as possible.
What do I want to propose? Whose ? How? Why ? By writing these ideas, you will see more clearly and some questions may appear. It is also this written file that will allow you to consult potential partners (incubators, business incubators, support organizations, coworking spaces or funders).

The SSE sector has many structures to facilitate the creation of a business, such as the Regional Chamber of the Social and Solidarity Economy (Cress) , the Regional Union of Cooperative and Participative Societies (Scop) , the Mouvement des social entrepreneurs ,France Active, France Initiative, Entreprendre Network, PACE, Avise , etc.

They usually offer free advice and their support is a guarantee of credibility for your project. “An accompanied company is twice as likely to succeed than a structure that is not,” says Michel Rohart, director of the Regional Union of Scop Rhônes-Alpes. Our incubator, Alter’Incub helps project leaders to formalize their idea and verify that their model is viable. ”

Go to the field

For your file to be accurate and realistic, it is essential to confront the theory with the reality on the ground. It is by visiting the places where you want to establish, by talking with the neighbors, by studying the habits of the population, the potential of customers or the competitive activities that you will be able to realize a market study which will leave nothing to chance.

Do not hesitate to meet peers who can give you their testimonial and their advice.
As its name indicates, the ESS sector is based on the logic of solidarity and experience sharing . Enjoy!

Search for financing

Public subsidies, bank loans, private or participatory financing , the search for funding is often done on several levels and may take some time. But being accompanied by a structure is often a plus.

“When we invest in a project, it creates a leverage, says Jean-Yves Angst, co-president of the National Federation of Cicadas . For example, if we bring in 5,000 euros in capital, the project leader can expect to be granted an additional loan of 10,000 euros by a bank. For example, La Nef or Crédit Coopératif, which are oriented towards SSE, see a project supported by a Cigales club. ”

Get loans and subsidies

Going through a support structure also allows you to practice presenting your project in order to succeed in getting a loan , for example.
To be supported by a Cigales club, a candidate must present their idea to all members of the club. By participating in this great oral, he learns to argue and answer questions that he did not necessarily expect.
He puts all the assets on his side to present his project to a bank adviser or the commission of a public body.

Public subsidies can also be used to finance a project in the ESS. Whether aimed at business creation or more specifically at the SSE, local authorities(regional council, general council, town halls) offer various scholarships. This is the case of the “Désir d’entreprendre” grant in Aquitaine-Limousin Poitou-Charentes or the “Young Entrepreneur Scholarship” in Finistère.

Choose the legal status

Another element to define: the legal status of the structure you want to create. Here too, the support organizations can explain the different statuses and help you choose the structure that best suits your project.

Associations, cooperatives and limited profit-making companies , typical of an ESS company, are that it reconciles economic activity and collective interest and that it is based on democratic organizational and operational modes .

“The other specificity of the social and solidarity economy is that it is possible to start one’s activity by being an employee of an activity and employment cooperative (CAE) . She will take care of all the administrative tasks. This allows you to test your activity while enjoying the benefits of employee status, “said Patricia Eon, director of CRESS Midi-Pyrénées.

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