Entrepreneurship, People and Organisations
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Entrepreneurship, People and Organisations

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Robert Blackburn, Frédéric Delmar, Alain Fayolle and Friederike Welter

This book, written by leading scholars, provides stimulating coverage of topical issues in the field of small business and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship has already been shown to be a significant source of innovation and economic development but the variations in the contribution at the individual, organisational, regional and national levels remain relatively unexplored. The types of contributions – behavioural, economic and social – are also relatively new areas for empirical scrutiny and theoretical development. This anthology provides in-depth analyses of entrepreneurship across Europe and demonstrates the importance of context – the geographical, political and socio-economic milieu within which entrepreneurship takes place.
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Chapter 9: The failure of hyper-growth firms: a study of the bankruptcy of French SMEs with high growth potential

Joy Courault, Muriel Perez and Christine Teyssier


The question of the growth of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) has become a concern of successive French governments. For decades, the French government has implemented policies to support companies with strong growth potential. However France has proportionally fewer “gazelles”, as defined by Birch (1979), than the US (Picart 2006). The label “gazelles”, launched in 2005 by the Ministry for SMEs and now replaced by the status of “Growth SMEs”, allows SMEs to benefit from annual tax reductions and the deferral of social contributions. To further promote business growth, the French public bank, OSEO, which focuses on innovative SMEs, has recently established a network of 2000 SMEs certified as “SME Excellence” whose growth perspectives are deemed the most promising. This certification allows these SMEs to benefit from increased awareness and a direct connection to funding agencies, clusters, and generally all public and private national or European economic actors. SMEs with high growth potential are also the main targets of the new Public Investment Bank founded by the French government in 2013. Moreover, the definition of the category of intermediate-sized firms, enacted by the Law of Modernization of the Economy in August 2008, is in line with this general trend. The implementation of policy measures designed to promote business growth, particularly by fostering the transition of SMEs into larger size classes, is recommended to increase the number of firms in this category.

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