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Entrepreneurs, what if we help you ?

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

This is definitely not a secret : Entrepreneurship is not easy, even though exciting. To begin with, entrepreneurs spend a huge amount of time creating their product, or service, promoting it, prospecting, and this after having studied the market and preparing a business plan. Then, when we have everything ready to start the business, our customer base, there is still the administrative work to do as well as the accounting. Also, as entrepreneurs, the Head of the company, we must constantly train, get informed to be able to react to any problem the company may face.

Entrepreneurs find themselves working long days, even on weekends. Some start their day at 8 AM to end it around 8 PM, without being able to generate a salary for themselves at least during the first months of activity. A 2015 OpinionWay survey confirms this. It says that small business leaders would work, on average, 9 hours 40 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Enough to scare some people...

However, you would tell me, entrepreneurs are not left alone. There are a bunch of financial aids and mentorship services out there.

Plenty of help available...

In France, we have organizations that supports business launching. The BGE ADIL is one of them. Created more than 35 years ago, the BGE ADIL helps entrepreneurs with the implementation of their business project. It provides training on business management, runs thematic workshops like the one about a "methodology to create a business" in which participants are given the necessary tools and information to launch their business. The BGE ADIL also offers individual support and provides an incubator service with its incubator program allowing participants to test out their business project before launching it, and that with the equipment and support of the BGE ADIL. This is similar to our CAPE contract, it gives a company the opportunity to "incubate" a project leader to let him/her define the project and then, set it up.

Of course, more help is possible. The "Aide aux Créateurs ou Repreneurs d'Entreprise" (ACRE) combines support and social charges exemption for new entrepreneurs at the beginning of their activity, the "Aide à la Reprise et à la Création d'Entreprise" (ARCE) is a financial aid towards jobseekers, or the "Nouvel Accompagnement à la Création ou à la Reprise d'Entreprise" (NACRE), a 3-year support program in which the entrepreneur is taken care of, from the implementation of his/her business project to the beginning of the activity. Thanks to this program, the entrepreneur can obtain a zero interest loan of up to 8000€, $9725 in US dollars. There are plenty of other help available, some intended for specific people such as the "Fonds de Garantie à l'Initiative des Femmes" (FGIF) for women, not to mention all of them.

Abroad, overseas, the principle stays the same. Entrepreneurs are being helped either by financing and/or mentoring as support. Founded in 1953, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency offering free or low cost services such as consulting, training and assistance to small businesses so that they can grow as efficiently as possible. One of its partners, the SCORE organization, has made its mission to help small businesses evolve by giving them access to online content (Webinars...) and mentorship... For free ! Thanks to the work of its 10000 volunteers.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) trains teenagers in entrepreneurship from middle school to adulthood. At the end, they are well equipped to face the business world early in their working lives. The United States has a lot of other organizations ready to help entrepreneurs by mentoring them but they can receive help materially too via loans and grants. The US Small Business Administration ease access to loans and grants, the perfect example for this is the "Small Business Innovation Research Grant", meant for research based companies. Applicants to this grant can get up to $100000 to test the selling potential of their product.

Moreover, in addition to business angels and fundraising, known to all, there are other global initiatives. The Entrepreneurship World Cup rewards startups that have managed, by the quality of their product or service, to win one of the presented prizes. The Entrepreneurship World Cup is a global competition of innovative startups, with high added value. It is open to project leaders, beginners and more experienced entrepreneurs. The competition is made of 4 stages :

  1. Accelerate 1 Training : Candidates enter a first training session that will allow them to improve their skills in areas like customer relations, communication, problem solving etc.

  2. National competitions : Competitions are held in more than 100 countries, virtually and in person. At the end, 100 winners will advance to the Global Finals.

  3. Accelerate 2 Training : Candidates go on with a second training session.

  4. Global Finals : It's time for the grand finale ! The 100 finalists will pitch for the ultimate prizes : Over 30 hours of training, a chance to win an up to $500000 worth prize, $25000 worth in-kind benefits.

After the event, the 100 finalists will be invited to join the GEN Starters Club. That way, they will be able to expand their network, receive mentorship, among other things.

The Entrepreneurship World Cup represents a real opportunity for leaders to meet with potential business partners around the world and acquire the necessary funds, tools for their business.

Another initiative with global ambitions, the one from Heroic Rhino, aims to connect new entrepreneurs with more experienced ones in order to set up a 2.0 tutoring system. To do this, the Heroic Rhino creators are working on a platform to facilitate this connection.

... But, is it enough ?

It is easy to see that the entrepreneur has much help to take. But, is it enough ?

What about moral support ? I'm not talking about the times when everything is going well, when the business is finally coming to life but about the difficult times, when success doesn't seem to be coming some day, when the efforts made lead to nowhere, when our mood is at its worst and the only way out of this catastrophic situation is to file for bankruptcy. We don't talk about it much but moral support is as important as the other types of help, if not more so. Those close to us are not always equipped to provide the right support.

Many entrepreneurs suffer from depression, some even commit suicide. Ilya Zhitomirskiy, a 22-year-old entrepreneur, took his own life on November 2011 after creating his social network Diaspora. It did not meet the expected success.

Thankfully, in France, there are places that offer this help, among them :

  • The Information Center on Preventing business difficulties (CIP) : In addition to give technical assistance, this center provides a psychological one to entrepreneurs in difficulty. For this purpose, it surrounds itself with psychologists, lawyers, accountants and judges.

  • Entrepreneurs in distress Foundation : Introduced by SOS Entrepreneur, the foundation brings moral support to entrepreneurs who need it. They will have to dial an emergency number to get it.

  • The listening and psychological support unit suggested by the Government : To address the Coronavirus crisis, the Economy and Finance Department has contributed to the implementation of a psychological assistance. Entrepreneurs will have, first, a phone interview, then will be redirected to a help suitable to their needs.

Otherwise, there is still the possibility of getting help from a psychologist or another similar specialist, and this is true in any country.

Entrepreneurship is an experience, a working style that can be exciting, rewarding, VERY educational but at the same time, quite difficult, frustrating, full of pitfalls. We have to keep in mind our initial motivation while taking the appropriate help, hoping to succeed in the long run.

In the absence of providing financial, psychological aid or mentorship, Planet Administrative Services can relieve entrepreneurs from the administrative work related to the management of their business. That's always a plus, isn't it ?

Planet Administrative Services assistant and founder

Useful links :

US Small Business Administration

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship World Cup

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