French SME observatory publishes for the first time an english summary of its annual report on french smes and intermediate-sized enterprises

the financial and economic situation of french smes and intermediate-sized enterprises got better in 2015

The 2016 SME Trends Report and its 19 summarized articles from different sources give an overview of French SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises in 2015 (last available figures in English). During that year, their economic and financial situation clearly started to recover. The macroeconomic environment became more favorable but still uncertain and CEOs remained cautious, according to the lower level of investments and the smaller number of new start-ups. However, the willingness to export was still high among micro-businesses and SMEs. Intermediate-sized enterprises were more the driven factor for French innovation. The 2016 outlook seems to indicate a better business climate for all companies.

9 figures & 9 trends analysed by thirteen reference partners of the French SME Observatory.

Key figures

  • SMEs represent nearly half of companies’ workforce and added value in France*.
  • 525 000 businesses were created in France in 2015, less than the previous year.
  • 7% of French SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises find a new owner (sale or transmission) every year.
  • The total turnover of SMEs grew by 1.7% in France.
  • More than 105 000 French SMEs sell their goods and services abroad.
  • Three companies out of four listed on Euronext Paris are French Small- or Mid-Caps.
  • SMEs account for almost one quarter of private in-house R&D expenditures in France**.
  • More than 8 500 companies, especially SMEs, belong to the so called French “competitiveness clusters” (pôles de compétitivité).
  • Since 2000, 3 700 innovative start-ups have been created in France thanks to public funding (Concours i-Lab and public incubators).

* In 2013  /  ** In 2014 (last available data).


  • French SMEs tend to receive more public procurement orders than before*.
  • The level of French SME capital expenditure fell for the fourth year in a row.
  • While the average payment term improved in Europe, French companies still have work to do.
  • Access to external financing for SMEs was once again limited in the OECD countries, but the situation in France remained favourable**.
  • The level of insolvencies in France did not change for the very small-sized companies, but it was up again for SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises.
  • The French private equity industry grows and invests more and more in unlisted French SMEs.
  • Companies with less than 250 employees represent 90% of all claimants receiving research tax credit (CIR – Crédit d’Impôt Recherche) in France *.
  • While the number of patents granted to French SMEs was stable, there was a sharp increase considering intermediate-sized enterprises.
  • French JEI-type companies (Jeune entreprise innovante) invest and export rapidly despite somewhat tenuous finances.

* In 2013  /  ** In 2014 (last available data).

The SME Report, an interactive document for a new digital experience!

Readers will discover an interactive document thanks to Beebuzziness technology:

  • 100% environment-friendly with a professional quality on-demand printing system (Print on demand – POD)
  • 100% open data: articles and data can be downloaded and shared
  • 100% mobile

Access to the summarized SME Report 2016 at the following address:

Do you want more data and analysis?

If you need more information on French businesses, read “PME 2016”, the full version of the 2016 SME report (only in French). Or sign in to the SME “go with the flow” to receive articles updates throughout the year (only in French too).