Specific solutions for SMEs
CEO of Societe Generale Group
Africa is a continent of opportunity undergoing a full-scale revolution. On top of the fantastic energy of Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, we are convinced that growth in Africa will initially come from the private sector and that it is vital that all economic players, including French and African SMEs and mid-cap companies, get on board.
Knowing the importance of the role SMEs play in the sustainable growth of a country, Societe Generale Group is a key partner of initiatives aimed at supporting the development of African SMEs on the continent but also at accompanying French SMEs in Africa.
Partnership with AFD
Agence Française de Développement
AFD is France’s inclusive public development bank. AFD commits financing and technical assistance to projects that genuinely improve everyday life, both in developing and emerging countries and in the French overseas provinces.
In keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, AFD works in many sectors - energy, healthcare, biodiversity, water, digital technology, professional training, among others - to assist with transitions towards a safer, more equitable, and more sustainable world.
ARIZ is a risk-sharing scheme designed by AFD in 2008 to facilitate small and medium-sized businesses' access to bank credit. Since its launch, AFD has asked Societe Generale Group and its African network to deploy this guarantee tool as part of a partnership. This partnership was very well received by Societe Generale Group subsidiaries, which quickly became ARIZ's first partner, both in terms of size and exposure. Together, for the last 10 years, AFD and Societe Generale Group have been able to support more than 1,250 African companies in their development project through more than 500 million euros of ARIZ guaranteed financing. In many cases, the cooperation between AFD and Societe Generale has facilitated access to financing for particularly complex or ambitious projects. This is the case, for example, in Madagascar where BFV-SG, the subsidiary of Societe Generale Group, has been able to finance local operators in the aquaculture sector such as UNIMA, and thus work for sustainable aquaculture. In December 2017 Societe Generale and AFD strengthened cooperation further signing a new partnership agreement under the ARIZ program for small and medium-sized enterprises on the African continent.
Proparco, a subsidiary of AFD, and Societe Generale have signed a financing agreement on a credit line worth EUR 15 million granted to Societe Generale Burkina Faso, designed to support the financing of investment programmes for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Partnership with Bpifrance
Bpifrance is a public investment bank, which supports companies in their development through the investment and expertise.
In partnership with private players such as Societe Generale, Bpifrance acts for the development of environmental technologies, biotechnologies and digital, but also for all industrial and service sectors, particularly for the development of the social and solidarity economy and social innovation.
Since September 2013, Societe Generale and Bpifrance have been involved in a partnership agreement aimed at encouraging and supporting the international growth of French companies.
This agreement highlights the complementary nature of Bpifrance and Societe Generale's international expertise, particularly in Africa. It is based on strong actions to facilitate the export and internationalization of French companies, in particular the provision of consulting, co-financing and guarantee services with the Bpifrance range of products, as well as Societe Generale’s expertise and facilities in the field of Trade Finance.
"Smart Energy" mission in Côte d'Ivoire
Bpifrance and Societe Generale in partnership with Business France have selected 9 leading companies representing French excellence in all areas associated with "Smart Energy".
From 5 to 8 June 2018, Societe Generale and Bpifrance, in partnership with Business France, accompanied 9 innovative French energy companies to discover the Ivorian market.
This "Smart Energy" mission is dedicated to energy transition and performance in Côte d'Ivoire, to limit energy expenditure and take into account the environmental challenges related to the country's growth.
The objective of this stay in Abidjan is to enable these 9 SMEs and mid-market companies to better understand the needs of this reference market in Africa and to develop short / medium term opportunities with key players. local. The 9 companies selected all offer innovative products and solutions in line with the needs of Côte d'Ivoire, in the field of Smart Energy.
Coaching and tailor-made meetings with prospects and potential partners were organized. The companies were also able to go to the headquarters of Société Générale de banques en Côte d'Ivoire (SGBCI) to benefit from the advice and expertise of our local teams. In addition, back to France, the companies still benefit from the expertise of Bpifrance and Societe Generale teams on all the contacts initiated to concretize their development projects.
Accompanying and training
In September 2017, Societe Generale and Bpifrance signed a new partnership agreement aimed at promoting the development of French Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Intermediate Enterprises (ETI) in Africa.
Through this partnership, the two institutions are committed to jointly providing complementary advice, links and e-learning devices to French SMEs and midcaps with development projects on the African market. At the same time, the two players participate together in projects that contribute to the development of key sectors, such as green energy or the agro-industrial sector in Africa.
SUPPORTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICAN SMEs
Small and medium-sized enterprises are at the heart of the development process of African economies. They represent 90% of private companies and they hire 70% of the rural population. They are therefore unavoidable, especially in the emergence of the African middle class and broad access to employment.
For Societe Generale, African SMEs represent 2/3 of its corporate clientele. The Bank must adapt its systems to support them more effectively and thus better participate in their growth.
Contributing to the dynamism of the African economic fabric by developing access to financing and support for African small and medium-sized enterprises is Societe Generale's ambition. It translates into a target of a 60% increase in credit outstanding to African SMEs in the next 5 years.
How to achieve it?
Multidimensional support for managers
In partnership with various players supporting the development of SMEs, such as AFD-Proparco, Bpifrance, Investors & Partners or the Réseau Entreprendre and local actors in each country, Societe Generale wants to launch an initiative to unite strengths for the benefit of SMEs.
Access to finance must be made simple: helping SMEs structure their efforts to obtain financing, give them access to complete resources, covering all financing channels, help them train themselves to develop their activity... These are the challenges of multidimensional and coordinated support between all players.
For all that, Societe Generale has already set up cooperations:
- AFD-Proparco and the ARIZ guarantee concerning 12 of the Group's African entities, with 33% growth of outstandings in 2018;
- Bpifrance University, which has put online trainings dedicated to business managers in Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal;
- Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P);
- ADPME in Senegal;
- Upgrade Office in Senegal;
- or the Réseau Entreprendre (cooperation in Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia).
Maison de la PME: an example of cooperation for SME development
The concept of Maison de la PME (SME House) is a multi-dimensional approach to support the needs of SME managers. Societe Generale brings together in a single space international players such as Réseau Entreprendre, AFD-Proparco, Investors & Partners, Bpifrance, and local ones, such as ADPME, the Bureau de Mise à Niveau (Upgrading Office) and APIX, in Senegal for instance.
All these organisations cooperate to remove the main obstacles to the creation and development of companies: by providing accounting, technical or legal expertise, by providing advice, training, monitoring or awareness on environmental and social issues, and by studying financing solutions at all stages of the company's life cycle.
Societe Generale dedicates specialised SME advisers and each partner has its own desk to provide its expertise. This model, which is also based on mentoring from the Group's employees, was duplicated in September 2020 in 7 Societe Generale subsidiaries in Africa, some having already adopted similar systems (in Tunisia for example).
Facilitate access to finance: make credit granting process more efficient
The Group has launched numerous in-house projects with the commercial, risk and organisational sectors to quickly review its processes and its SME offer and adapt its operations to the less formal aspect of African SMEs.
In addition, to encourage the development of innovative and backed-up financing, Societe Generale will deploy its leasing offerings and design dedicated factoring solutions for SMEs, which will be offered by all its locations.
Finally the Bank will rely more on the guarantees of the International Financial Institutions.
Societe Generale is also involved with small businesses in the informal sector, through an active financial inclusion approach, including through cooperations in the field of microfinance and the creation of an alternative model to traditional banking, YUP.