Covid? Which Covid? If there is one sector that has been spared from the health crisis, it is that of business creation. This is how 848,164 structures were born, a figure up 4% compared to 2019 according to INSEE. In July 2021, the institute confirmed this upward trend, with 528,334 companies created in the first six months … And everything suggests that this year it will break new records.
But beware of hasty interpretations. The magnitude of this rebound is partly due to the particularly low level of creations during the first confinement, as the economy has been under glass for several months. Micro-entrepreneurs, in particular, have inflated the statistics during this particular period: many students or young workers, who had lost their wage jobs and had free time, registered in this status on the home delivery platforms, among other things. , whose business exploded with the closure of non-essential restaurants and businesses. I’m not sure, therefore, that these two-wheeled micro-entrepreneurs will keep their business at the end of the pandemic …
More than one in ten French people want to set up their own business
The uberization of our economy would have somehow hidden the decline in two years of the real desire to “make your own box”. An OpinionWay / Go Entrepreneurs survey conducted in January 2021 among 1,000 people reveals that 71% of French people considered the unfavorable period of risk-taking inherent in this choice, while 25% saw it as an opportunity. The pandemic will have done nothing but discourage the most undecided and the other undecided: in one year, the percentage of respondents who say they want to create or take over a business one day dropped by 8 points, to 21%. Only the most determined, therefore, continue to claim to be potential entrepreneurs. Among these 21%, the 18-34 age group is the most enthusiastic age group, which bodes well for the future.
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Finally, 12% of French people, or more than 6.3 million people, say they want to start in the next two years. Encouraged by public authorities and entrepreneur support networks, their profiles are characterized by great diversity. They are more often young people, belonging to visible minorities, with little or no qualifications, demonstrating that “setting up your own business” is not reserved for an elite. But there is still a long way to go before ensuring equal access for all to entrepreneurship, especially when it comes to ambitious projects. For example, according to an internal survey, 57% of X-HEC Entrepreneurs’ master’s graduates have created or participated in the creation of a business compared to only 37% of graduates. “Those who have not undertaken the blame primarily for lack of self-confidence or fear of failure,” explains Inge Kerkloh-Devif, Senior Executive Director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at HEC. To narrow this gap, two Masters graduates launched BoostHer. The concept ? A one-day event to better understand and wipe out gender inequalities in the business world, with debates, testimonies from inspiring women and tools to gain self-confidence.
Towards greater autonomy
The motivations of entrepreneurship candidates? The first is based on a strong desire for autonomy. The health crisis has played a catalytic role even for the most determined in their actions: there are those who have taken advantage of teleworking or technical unemployment to mature their own project at home, which they intend to realize when they leave the pandemic; those who have gained self-confidence by realizing that they can exercise their new profession remotely thanks to platforms such as Zoom or Teams; others, finally, who, exercising the essential trades of the “first of the chores”, experienced a tiredness that prompted them to take the plunge …
The career of Marie Foulon proves this. After two decades of mass distribution, this 40-year-old employee finally collapsed. “The business exploded during the birth without the employer expressing many thanks for the efforts made. I felt a great moral weariness and I decided, encouraged by my family, to realize my old dream of opening a traveling creperie “. You resign, set up his own business and take out a loan to purchase a converted trailer. In April 2021 he began shooting in half a dozen villages in Nord-Pas de Calais, as well as in some events in his region. “I work a lot more than before, about 60 hours a week, but who cares? My children have grown up and I am more accomplished because I do what I like. I am the one who runs my business, I make decisions without being responsible And besides, I earn a better living than as a clerk in a Drive“.
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In search of meaning
Beyond this classic aspiration to autonomy, new motivations emerge. The search for meaning and impact increasingly interests young graduates. Many are thus involved in a corporate social responsibility (CSR) process when they do not put the social or the environment at the center of their project. “The ecological transition constitutes an opportunity for future entrepreneurs but also a risk of failure if these issues are not integrated into the genesis of the economic model”, underlines Marie Adeline-Peix, executive director of regional partnerships and creation of Bpifrance. which supports entrepreneurship. These motivations materialize through “responsible” projects concerning fashion, transport and agri-food. (see infographic) and meets with public approval. An OpinionWay poll from September 2021 reveals that 73% of French people believe that starting a business should be beneficial to society and 40% even think that young entrepreneurs want to improve the world rather than make money. When the sense exceeds the monetary interest …