The InvestHorizon Raising Awareness Seminar organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Pays de la Loire and CCI France on December, 17 gathered about sixty participants, including fifty companies looking for funding. The main goal of this workshop was to support SMEs, especially start-ups, to adapt their projects in order to raise funds more easily. The seminar was divided in three main sessions moderated respectively by Moses Rogez, Patrick Baudry and Gaëlle Saint Drenant.
Moses ROGEZ, CEO Pixiel and winner of Deloitte TECHNOLOGY FAST 50 (for strong growth) emphasized the importance of having access to quick funding in order to grow in competitiveness and meet the challenges of highly competitive markets such as the drone market. Mr. Rogez joined a project led by the CCI that offered selected regional companies the support of a consultant for 9 months as well as various exchanges with other participants. According to him, raising funds from external investors is only the next step and needs to be prepared seriously to elaborate a solid speech, identify the right legal tools and gain some notoriety at national and international level.
Patrick Baudry, Bpifrance, regional delegate, stressed that in the case of Pixiel, which started as a service provider, the proof of concept and the first consumers were already made which smoothed the fund raising activities. He also highlighted four main mistakes to avoid:
- Staying alone and not be accompanied by advisors, network, etc.
- Self-financing the R&D phase which may weaken the financial position of the company
- Financing upstream phases of the innovative project with bank debt instead of using innovative subsidies (meaning not being able to borrow in the marketing phase)
- “Off-ground innovation”: skipping the validation phase and marketing a product/service before having validated the market interest for it.
Gaëlle Saint Drenant presented the regional platform on finance www.pmepaysdelaloire.fr designed with the cooperation of the regional financing service. Its main objective is to support companies to recognize the right source of financing according to their project and company’s development stages. It identifies all public and private financing of innovation: grants, subsidies, bank loans, investment funds, private equity, business angels and all support networks on innovation.
This workshop was also the opportunity to launch the InvestHorizon Coaching Academy, a one-day event with professionals coaching 15 SMEs in raising funds activities. It will be organized in Nantes, France by CCI Pays de la Loire with the support of the European Commission on 15th September 2016. More information will be available at least two months before the seminar at www.investhorizon.eu