The Forces Françaises de l’Industrie celebrates its 3rd anniversary: 3 years of meetings, initiatives and commitment at the service of the relocation of know-how and reindustrialization.
The Genesis: Reviving the Spirit of Resistance to Fight Deindustrialization
It all starts with a meeting between Gilles Attaf and Laurent Moisson. Gilles Attaf is an ardent supporter of Made in France. In 2011, at the head of the Smuggler brand, he was one of the first to have his products certified as Origine France Garantie, when certification had just been born. He then actively participated in the development of the Origine France Garantie association, of which he will become president in 2020. During his business career, he was able to observe closely the ravages of deindustrialization, particularly in the textile and clothing sectors, by seeing the factories he used disappear one after another. “For a long time, only a few of us warned of the dangers of dismantling our productive fabric, sometimes passing for originals. Far from being perceived as a disaster, deindustrialization was seen more as progress, a transitional step towards a tertiary economy. The factories, those dirty and polluting places, were going to leave our regions and nobody in France should have to suffer the condition of a worker. The simplistic perception of the industry allied to a utopian vision of an economy based on services and intellectual professions seems to have contributed to the scrapping of our manufacturers. 🇧🇷
For his part, Laurent Moisson, an entrepreneur at the head of a consulting firm specializing in business transformation, observes that investing in traditional small SMEs is not of interest to many people: “in the world of finance, a lot of sheep, it wasn’t in fashion. explains. “I had been able to observe, as an isolated investor, how much the coaching of these SMEs consumed time and money and I had found the owners of SMEs very alone or poorly supported. Unlike the start-ups for which the red carpet is rolled out. And , however, many of these entrepreneurs, these craftsmen, these crafts owners, who make France’s influence in the world, have incredible talent, real ambition and an inexhaustible workforce. Nova (2017), one industrial job generates 3 to 4 non-industrial jobs: one more reason to support these traditional SMEs and help them to develop. rench Touch Fund, an investment fund specifically designed for this purpose, and embarked on the adventure Emmanuel Deleau, specializing in the management of business clubs, as well as other investors.
In 2019, when launching the fund, Laurent Moisson spoke with Gilles Attaf, whom he had met a year earlier. So he had it in mind to launch a club to encourage the community of those campaigning for this cause. Great minds meet, join forces and the pact is sealed: Forces Françaises de l’Industrie is born, simultaneously a network of entrepreneurs, an investment and acceleration vehicle, a mentoring and training structure. The name quickly took hold, says Gilles Attaf: “I wanted something Gaullian, inspired by the Resistance, whose first mission was to federate the pre-existing movements to unite them in defense of a cause greater than themselves and their divisions. This is what moves us at Forces Françaises de l’Industrie. »
Immediate success and rapid growth
The launch party was a success, proof that this initiative met the sector’s expectations: “In the end, it wasn’t 30 people who visited us, but around 90! excites Laurent Moseson. Some took the train from Nantes, Marseille, Lille, others canceled dinners or events to be with us. Among our friends, there were many people we didn’t even know! 🇧🇷
This is how a joke between three friends, which started with a good but vague intention, turned into a national movement that today celebrates its third anniversary and tells:
10 clubs of entrepreneurs throughout France,
· Hundreds of members, thousands of supporters,
· Dozens of events every month across France: conference dinners, visits to industrial sites, training, etc.
An investment vehicle, the French Touch Fund, which made it possible to develop 15 SMEs positioned in French know-how of excellence, for a total amount of 4.5 million euros and, more recently, another, the name of the French Forces of Gastronomy, to create catering groups and develop innovative, ethical and ambitious producers.
· An SME accelerator that has already served 30 companies.
· Launch of Industry-land, an original concept that consists of taking young and old on an industrial tour.
And the projects to come multiply! With emphasis on the continued development of regional branches: “Talking about relocating the production tool requires acting as close as possible to the territories where the industries are installed, insists Laurent Moisson. It seemed natural to us to create clubs in the regions to promote the creation of a broad ecosystem and thus better meet local demand. The rapid deployment of FFIs across France confirms our intuition and encourages us to accelerate this development. This is also why, after Paris in 2020, FFIs will soon open their second regional SME accelerator, in Clermont-Ferrand.
To shine beyond French borders and support industrial SMEs in their export projects, FFIs have recently joined the Entrepreneurs Club “La Peña”, a network of French entrepreneurs established in Spain and Portugal. This integration aims to raise funds abroad for French SMEs, and allow these same SMEs to connect more easily to the Spanish and Portuguese market and to develop exports, generally one of their weaknesses. Openings in Switzerland, Belgium and London are expected soon.
The ecosystem has also approached Les Déviations media, specialist in life changing, in order to encourage vocations in traditional professions, production professions and the territories that support them. The FFIs and Les Déviations have also developed offers to support entrepreneurship and reskilling in short-circuit businesses eligible for CPF financing.
A final word to the founders:
“Because we are never content with indignation, because we always prefer to act than complain, because we prefer to be positive and enlighten those who struggle, those who have the ambition that their company and their countries succeed, we are no longer afraid to announce our ambition today for the coming years: to become the largest private network for accelerating SMEs, FTEs and industrial start-ups in France. Everyone is talking about the start-up nation, we want to launch the SME nation. »