Initiative Sarthe breaks records for supporting business creators and buyers – Le Journal des Entreprises – Maine-et-Loire
Created more than 30 years ago, the Sarthe Initiative network supports business creators and buyers by granting them honorary loans which, through leverage, allow them to take out associated loans from banking establishments, but also by sponsoring them with a volunteer business executive. In recent years, there have been more and more project leaders.
25 million euros mobilized
“We are still seeing a craze for entrepreneurship”, rejoices Pascal Joubert, president of Initiative Sarthe and manager of Menuiseries Bourneuf, in Parigné-l’Évêque (€16.9 million in 2021 turnover). He, who was one of the leaders supported by the association during its business takeover process in 2006, wants to believe in a lasting trend in the coming years. “We do not feel a drop for the moment, he assures, and what is reassuring is that we meet project leaders in all sectors of activity and for all sizes of companies. We have gone from 93 companies funded in 2021 to 127 in 2022 and we want to reach 140 in 2023”. More than 2 million euros in honorary loans were committed in 2022, which generated 23.6 million associated bank loans, i.e. a leverage effect of 11.61, and more than 25 million euros in total mobilized in the local economy. At the same time, 502 direct jobs were created or maintained, and support is often a guarantee of project success, with a business sustainability rate of 90.2% at three years.
“A Benevolent Gaze”
The 127 companies financed by Initiative Sarthe in 2022 – approximately as many takeovers as creations – were carried by 161 entrepreneurs throughout the department, including a third of women, with an identical process whatever the project: in the different territories, loan committees meet and grant financial support to project promoters who will be accompanied until the end of their repayment. “But we do not accompany if people only come to seek financial support”, underlines Pascal Joubert.
Maïlys and Jérémy Aucagne took over the industrial marking company Lionce Industrie, in Bouloire (€750,000 turnover, 15 employees), in August 2022 and are sponsored by Philippe Crespin, the manager of the industrial furniture manufacturing company Sofame, in Sargé-Lès-Le-Mans (€7.1 million in 2021 turnover, 53 employees): “This sponsorship brings us a benevolent outside view, testifies Jérémy Aucagne. Sarthe initiative has also allowed us to develop our network. As for financial support , even if it’s not what we came for in the first place, it is a real sign of seriousness when applying for a loan from a bank.” For his part, Philippe Crespin, member of the association’s board, was also supported by Initiative Sarthe when he took over Sofame in 2015. “It is normal to give back what we have received, says- it, and the exchanges with new generations of leaders also enrich us a lot.”
In recent years, the Sarthe Initiative network has been strengthened throughout the department, through work carried out locally with economic development officers: “Today, we have more project leaders throughout the Sarthe than in Le Mans, specifies Pascal Joubert. The loan committees meet directly in the territories, as close as possible to the project leaders, and we are also committed to finding local sponsors for our certified partners.” With the increase in the number of project leaders and certified, the association, which has more than 300 members in the department, is also looking for more and more corporate sponsors to support them. In 2022, the network also launched a “specific innovation committee”. It has set up a specific approach in terms of financial arrangements, evaluation and sponsorship. 10 innovation projects were validated during three dedicated approval committees, which made it possible to grant 80,000 euros in honorary loans.