Key facts


Current population of France –

Data supplied by the World Bank


Current GDP of France –
2,957,879.76 ($ millions)

Data supplied by the World Bank

World Happiness Index

France currently ranks  6.687 out of 10.

Since 2002, the World Happiness Report has used statistical analysis to determine the world’s happiest countries. To determine the world’s happiest country, researchers analysed comprehensive Gallup polling data from 149 countries for the past three years, specifically monitoring performance in six particular categories: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make your own life choices, generosity of the general population, and perceptions of internal and external corruption levels.

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Social Enterprise Data

(Source: ESEM)

Country Fact sheet: France

Read The European Social Enterprise Monitor Report, 2021 – 2022

Country factsheet: ESEM SEs in France

(Source: ESEM)

Perceived Political Support Grade

  • 35.9% perceive national political support for social entrepreneurship to be low, very low or non-existent

Top 3 Business Sectors (UN ISIC)

  • Human health and social work activities (28.2%)
  • Education (17.9%)
  • Administrative and support service activities (7.7%)

Company Size (OECD)

  • Micro enterprises 59.0%
  • Small enterprises 23.1%
  • Medium enterprises 12.8%
  • Large enterprises 5.2%

Top 3 UN SDGs

#10 – Reduced inequalities (56.4%)
#8 – Decent jobs and economic growth (46.2%)
#3 – Good health and wellbeing (43.6%)

Impact Management & Measurement

  • 66.6% currently measure their social/environmental impact; 30.8% plan to do so
  • 30.8% refer to the UN SDGs in impact reporting; 20.5% plan to do so

Top 3 Beneficiaries (Persons)

  • Individuals with very low income/debts/in poverty (35.9%)
  • Individuals living in rural/remote areas (28.2%)
  • Long-term unemployed (28.2%)

Top 3 Sources of External Financing

  • Public financing (69.2%)
  • Foundation funding (48.7%)
  • Bank loan (33.3%)

Funding Gap

On average, French ESEM SEs only managed to secure enough funding to meet 64.7% out of 100% of their financing needs in the past 12 months. Gap = 35.3%.

Top 3 Key Barriers

  • Too complex public financing (51.3%)
  • Lack of options to finance the organisation once started (43.6%)
  • Poor understanding/awareness of social enterprises among the general public and customers (33.3%)

Key Stakeholders & Members

EN Members


Type of organisation: National Network for Social Enterprises, Social Enterprise Umbrella Organisation
Website –

Avise is a non-profit agency committed to serving the public interest with a headcount of around 30. It can rely on support from board members representing the French SSE and an extensive network of partners keen to promote the ecological and solidarity transition. Today, Avise is the go-to partner for the SSE ecosystem. For the past 20 years, Avise has been enabling and encouraging the development of the social and solidarity economy (SSE) and social innovation in France and Europe by making its expertise and resources available to SSE businesses and the bodies that support them.

Cress Mayotte

Type of organisation: Social Enterprise Umbrella Organisation

CRESS Mayotte is committed to promoting democracy and solidarity in the economy (SSE). Main focus and activities include:

    • Structure and represent the SSE: CRESS Mayotte ensures the promotion and development of the social and solidarity economy at the local level.
    • Support the development of SSE companies and sectors
    • Awareness raising and visibility of SSE


Type of organisation: National Network for Social Entrepreneurs, Social Incubator

Empow’Her acts to reduce inequalities in the entrepreneurship sector that prevent women from launching and carrying out their projects successfully. They directly mobilise women entrepreneurs and take parallel actions to transform the sector by focusing on collaboration and awareness. Empow’her is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs, not as a result of a single program or training tool. Empow’Her is committed to supporting women, in ALL their entrepreneurial problems. To do this, they mobilise different learning approaches and different support tools to maximise their impact.

Impact France

Type of organisation: National Network for Social Enterprises

Mouvement Impact France brings together a community of pioneers who have demonstrated that another business model is possible and that companies can grow by respecting the 4 pillars: social impact, ecological impact, value sharing and power sharing. Impact France is a network uniting social and ecological impact entrepreneurs in France. Impact France is the leading lobbying and business network of economic actors with a social and ecological impact.

The Impact France Movement has a dual entrepreneurial and political project, which it intends to include in a European and international perspective in order to contribute to a fairer, more united and more sustainable society.

Pulse Group SOS

Type of organisation: International Network for Social Enterprises/Enterpreneurs, Social Incubator and Accelerator

PULSE was founded on the conviction that each of us can become a change-maker if given the opportunity. Since 2006, Pulse’s mission is to lead positive change in all regions to create pathways towards entrepreneurship as a lever for inclusive and sustainable development.

Pulse creates favourable conditions to foster the emergence of civil society and entrepreneurial ecosystems worldwide, through our programs and awareness-raising activities. In Africa and Europe, Pulse develops support courses within their incubators and beyond, thanks to digitalized and travelling tracks. Pulse also works to empower local organisations to strengthen their services to entrepreneurs.


Type of organisation: Training centre/Institute, Accelerator, Knowledge centre/platform, Social Enterprise Umbrella Organisation

ScaleChanger supports impact-driven organisations in their scaling ambition so they can maximise their social impact. ScaleChanger contributes to the deployment of social innovations by supporting impact-proven solutions to scale.

Other Stakeholders


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Universities/Research Centres

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Key Policies

Key Legal and Policy Framework Overview


In France SEs take the form of (i) associations, (ii) WISEs, (iii) cooperativesspecifically the three types of collective interest cooperatives or SCIC; cooperatives of activity and employment or CAE; and persons’ cooperatives – (iv) foundations, and (v) solidarity enterprises of social utility or ESUS.
It is crucial to point out that the High Commissioner for the SSE and social innovation, with a cabinet attached to the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, was founded in 2017. 
The 2019 PACTE (Plan d’action pour la croissance et la transformation des entreprises – or Action plan for business growth and transformation) recognises “mission-driven enterprises”. 

Framework Law on Social and Solidarity Economy (2014)

This law is the most recent legal evolution and the main law concerning SEs. Here you find a summary of its main points: 
  • Article 1 describes SSE as a field;
  • Article 2 defines social utility as related to support persons in a situation of fragility, combat exclusion and inequalities, promote education in citizenship, social link, social cohesion and sustainable development;
  • It established the statuses of solidarity enterprise of social utility (ESUS) and “socially useful solidarity-based enterprise”. These can be adopted by all legal forms which pursue a specific social aim (see article 11 and article 2 of the law). They give access to specific financial and support schemes (e.g., solidarity finance);
  • To gain the status, a legal entity must meet specific criteria, the most important are: (i) democratic governance, (ii) search of a social utility, (iii) limited distribution of profit by statutory rules, (iv) existence of collective asset locks, (v) wage gap limited to 1 to 10;
  • The law recognises the status of “paid worker entrepreneur” which receives a fixed and a variable part of his wage from the coopérative d’activité et d’emploi (CAE);
  • Article 19.5 updates the SCIC legislation (see below), defining SCIC as commercial enterprises whose aim is produce/supply goods and services which have general interest and offer social benefits. The 57.5% asset lock minimum remained;
  • The Framework Law also increases the share of capital endowment which public representatives can own in SCIC from 20% to 50%;
  • The law promoted the adoption of socially responsible purchasing schemes for local authorities when the total annual amount of its purchases exceeds 90,000 EUR. This increased access to the public markets;
  • Finally, through a more precise definition, it amplified financing available for SSE organisations. They can benefit from higher financing devoted to projects characterised by social utility and legal changes which will allow mutuals’ investment into associations.

Law on Collective Interest Cooperative Societies (2001)

DISCLAIMER: This law was updated by the Framework law explained above!
This law introduced the category of société coopérative d’intérêt collectif (or SCIC), namely a legal entity (i) explicitly aimed at the pursue of social objectives, (ii) with a collective ownership, (iii) a multi-stakeholder governance, and (iv) an asset lock of minimum 57.5% of their profits.
The members must include at least three categories of people along with the SCIC’s (i) users and (ii) wage-earners. 

Ordinance No. 2015-899 of 23 July 2015 on public procurement

This law enables for the use of social criteria or social inclusion clauses for awarding public contracts. Moreover, it envisages reserved contracts for adapted companies for inclusion through activity.

Fiscal Directive (1998)

Defines the “lucrative” character of associations on which depends their taxation.
  • If no lucrative activities are carried out, then associations are liable to patrimonial (based on revenue) and wage tax.
  • If they are lucrative, then associations are subject to commercial taxes (e.g., corporation tax, VAT, and business tax).

Financing and Support Measures

  1. Foundations are not subject to VAT and corporation tax;
  1. Incentives for donations: 
    1. 66% of donations to foundations are deductible up to a limit of 20% of people’s taxable income. It is 75% if it is allocated towards free care, meal or housing for people in difficulty;
    2. Finance Act (2008) also gives tax incentives for donations;
    3. Law in favour of work, employment and purchasing power (TEPA – 2007)enable the deduction of 75% of the sums paid to public utility foundations, university foundations or partnership foundations for a maximum of 50,000 EUR from wealth tax;
  1. Most often policy and support schemes address specific types of contributions rather than the social economy and its actors per se;
  1. A substantial number of support entities – such as co-working spaces, networking, training, pre-start start support and similar – are present in France and can receive finds from ESF and ERDF;
  1. Caisse des Dépôts offers two support schemes for social investments: (i) funds of funds and (ii) NOVESS Fund;
  1. Socially oriented pension funds invest from 5 to 10 % of their funds into social economy enterprises or social funds;
  1. Social impact contracts: launched in 2016, they are issued by SEs and are aimed at encouraging investments into socially impactful action development. They are supported by the State Secretary in charge of SSE;

Key policy documents

Coming Soon

Funding Partners

Relevant Resources

Relevant Research Experts

Pascal Glémain

PhD Pascal Glémain France Universities & Institutions Université de Rennes 2 Areas of Interest Financial analysis Sustainability Social theory Monetary economics Pascal Glémain is a Senior Researcher at the Université de Rennes 2, Department of Economics and Social Asministration. Among other responsibilities, he is an Assistant Professor-Post Doctorate Graduate in Management Sciences and in [...]

Christopher Williams

PhD Christopher Williams France Universities & Institutions NEOMA Business School Areas of Interest Business Strategy Strategy Business Process International Business Management Consulting Innovation Christopher Williams is an Associate Professor at the NEOMA Business School.  Christopher spent two decades in industry before entering academia. During this time he worked for international companies such as GEC, [...]

Ana Colovic

PhD Ana Colovic France Universities & Institutions NEOMA Business School Areas of Interest Small business SMEs Social enterpreneurship Technology and innovation Ana Colovic, PhD, HDR, is Full Professor of Strategy and International Business at NEOMA BS. She conducts research in the fields of Entrepreneurship, Regional Development, Strategy and International Business. Her research interests include [...]

Paolo Veneri

PhD Paolo Veneri France Universities & Institutions Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Areas of Interest Urbanism Urban planning Urban development Paolo Veneri is an economist, Head of the Regional Analysis and Statistics Unit in the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities. He co-ordinates a number of projects on urban and [...]

Ray Bowman

Lecturer Ray Bowman France Universities & Institutions Grenoble École de Management Areas of Interest Enterpreneurship development Innovation SMEs Business consultancy Ray Bowman is part of the Department of Technology Management and Strategy of the Grenoble École de Management and a lecturer at the California State University Channel Islands. Dr. Ray Bowman has been involved [...]

Alexander Peter Groh

Alexander Peter Groh France Universities & Institutions EMLYON Business School Areas of Interest Venture Capital Private Equity Entrepreneurial Finance Alexander GROH is a Professor of Finance at the EMLYON Business School. Dr. Groh specializes on Venture Capital, Private Equity and Entrepreneurial Finance research. He is coauthor of the Global Venture Capital and Private Equity Country [...]

Yan Alperovych

PhD Yan Alperovych France Universities & Institutions EMLYON Business School Areas of Interest Capital structure in SMEs Entrepreneurial finance Venture capital Private equity Yan Alperovych is an Associate Professor at the EMLYON Business School. Yan teaches corporate finance and related topics in MSc in Management and Specialized Master in Financial Engineering programs. His research interests [...]

Roya Gholami

Professor Roya Gholami France Universities & Institutions NEOMA Business School Areas of Interest Operations and Information Management Business Supply Chain & Decisions Dr Gholami is Professor at NEOMA Business School, France. Prior to joining NEOMA Business School (former Rouen Business School), she has worked at University of Illinois (US), Carnegie Mellon University (US), [...]

Eric Bidet

Associate Professor Eric Bidet France Universities & Institutions Le Mans University Areas of Interest social economy and social enterprise in Europe social enterprise in Asia, especially in South Korea Eric Bidet is the Director of the Master and Chair of Social and Solidarity Economy at Le Mans University and Co-president of Addes. He also [...]

Alejandro Agafonow

Professor Alejandro Agafonow France Universities & Institutions ESSCA School of Management Areas of Interest Social Enterprise Organizational Economics Philosophy of Science Prof. Agafonow’s research falls within the tradition of New Institutionalism (i.e., North, Ostrom, and Williamson) and it centers on the cogs and wheels that make social enterprises tick, aiming at redressing the paucity [...]

Arthur Gautier

Assistant Professor Arthur Gautier France Universities & Institutions ESSEC Business School Areas of Interest Philanthropy Social entrepreneurship Hybrid philanthropic practices Impact investing Crowdfunding Shareholder foundations Arthur Gautier is Assistant Professor at ESSEC Business School and Executive Director of the ESSEC Philanthropy Chair. He teaches at the Grande Ecole and ESSEC Executive Education. Since 2016, [...]

Sylvain Celle

PhD Sylvain Celle France Universities & Institutions Université Lille 1 Areas of Interest Social and solidarity economy Social Enterprise Social innovation Inequality Based in Amiens, Sylvain is a project manager at the Godin Institute and a doctoral student in economics at Clersé at Lille 1 University. His research is part of institutionalist political economy [...]


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