Entrepreneurship, a way out of youth unemployment?

Among the 1,000 difficulties of the current economic context, this should be the good news: the drop in unemployment (7.3% in the first quarter of 2022, according to INSEE). But beware, with a rate of 19% for young people aged 15 to 24, according to a Medef study, the youth unemployment rate is more than double the national average warns Guillaume Pepy, president of Initiative France, a financing and support network for business creation.

During a press conference he presented the new system implemented by the network since the beginning of the year: In’cube, intended to reveal the potential of young people and to help them create their own society. Because the starting point is alarming. Almost 20% of young people under 29 are in a situation of poverty, whatever their condition, according to the same study by Medef. And the Covid episode contributed to aggravate the situation: young people were particularly affected by the termination of contracts and the layoffs that occurred during the confinements. 37% of young people between 18 and 24 years of age were forced to change their professional plans due to the crisis.

Consequence of this difficult situation? Their number one priority is to have enough salary to live … Another figure outlines a way out for some of them: 20% of young people between 18 and 25 consider setting up their business as a serious prospect, i.e. double the average population observes Guillaume Pepy.

With this new device, we will be looking for the audience that has a hard time coming to us.

In’cube, a free program to support business creation, is aimed at these young people. It is mainly aimed at the under 30s furthest away from work: long-term job seekers, under-baccalaureate degrees, residents of priority neighborhoods or rural revitalization areas, etc.

In 2021, Initiative France had already supported 5,456 young people in business creation, surpassing the level of 2019. So far we have selected projects whose leaders had already matured somewhat. With this new device, we will be looking for an audience that has a hard time coming to us, that has ideas that will need to be matured. We will strengthen upstream support to help them
says Patricia Lexcellent, General Delegate of Initiative France.

Objective of the association: 5,400 people supported, of which 3,600 under 30, by the end of 2022. For the moment, 1,982 people benefit from the program. The latter was born following a call by the Ministry of Labor and Integration and the government plan “1 young, 1 solution”, aimed at countering the difficulties deriving from the Covid emergency.

In its implementation, the In’cube program relies on associations such as Les Déterminés, which since 2015 has been working to democratize youth entrepreneurship, particularly in popular neighborhoods.

Furthermore, Initiative France has developed or intensified partnerships with public bodies. We approached the ecosystem of work, through the local missions and Pôle emploi. With the latter, until now, we have had only occasional relations with local offices. National protocol signedsays Patricia Lexcellent.

Tracing the path from idea to business

The difficulties faced by young people in setting up their own business are accentuated by their lack of experience, according to a study carried out by Initiative France with its network, in 2021.

For example, 30% of them have difficulty with paperwork, compared to 21% of all entrepreneurs. Being well monitored is therefore an even more crucial factor for the sustainability of projects for those under 30.

This has effects on several levels, illustrates the testimony of three young entrepreneurs enrolled in the In’cube system. Being accompanied, for example, reassured Inès Xucla, 26 years. This museography specialist had to give up her public service contract for health reasons and she set up her own business. And independence was a real challenge “ that forced him to overcome his limits, testifies the young woman.

Another advantage of the accompaniment, the collective practical workshops it includes have proved fruitful for two reasons. We were grouped with other cultural actors. We were able to discuss our constructions in a concrete way. For example, some are developing an application to carry out cultural tours in the north of France. We are not competitors, but we have a similar customer target, which has allowed us to take our strategies from theory to practice illustrates Inès Xucla.

Another testimony, that of Steve Mwasangule, 28: Surgego, his Afro-Caribbean grocery store, should open this July, in Paris. The serial entrepreneur does not particularly need to be reassured: “DIn high school, I bought candy at Lidl which I then sold. (…). Subsequently, I created a cosmetics brand. Entrepreneurship is what makes me vibrate, makes me want to get up in the morning He explains.

However, he lacked some codes … Despite a personal contribution of 20,000 euros and a legal collaborator, he ran into two bank loan refusals to finance his grocery project. The young man got three positive responses when he came up with a project supported by Initiative France and drawing on the experience gained during a banking workshop, led by a veteran of the profession. We don’t go to find a banker while we tell his dream the young man understood.

Similarly, Louis Demessine, 22, former surf champion and instructor in La Ciotat (PACA), had an excellent idea, resourcefulness to spare, but a lot to learn about being an entrepreneur …

In 2021 he created Surfnow, a company that offers, in particular, a B to B and B to C application for surf schools. “We could clearly see that the question had an interest. But I am a surf instructor. I have a baccalaureate, period. The support that helped me the most was the business plan. This allowed me to structure myself, to put ideas in the right drawers … and also to learn to throw, to express myself well, calmly… “

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