Trusting local players to meet the challenges of an ambitious and resilient recovery
Association Nationale des Pôles territoriaux et des Pays (ANPP - Territoires de projet)
While the transition of territories, their public and private organisations and their inhabitants is, in the first hypothesis, largely impacted by external factors, it is relevant to test an approach based on the assumption of responsibility by local players. This is what the « Territoires & financements innovants » collective is advocating. It is made up of a wide range of players in local development in France : Agence France Locale, Alliance Sens & Economie, Association Française des Fundraisers, Association Nationale des Pôles territoriaux et des Pays, Cabinet Utopies, Financement Participatif France, France Angels, France Barter, Pôle de compétitivité Finance Innovation, Territoires à Énergie Positive (TEPOS) and Union nationale des Acteurs du Développement Local.
To download : faire-confiance-aux-acteurs-locaux.pdf (370 KiB)
The Collectif « Territoires et financements innovants » aims to help local authorities meet the ecological, economic and social challenges they face, using the financial and human skills of local players.
In this unprecedented period of health and economic crisis, financial support for the economic world, provided at regional, national and European level, is valuable and necessary. However, there are also players, skills and resources in our regions that need to be exploited in the various schemes to make a full contribution to recovery and transition.
From the outset of the health crisis, local players (citizens, economic development players, associations, etc.) have demonstrated their ability to mobilise in a variety of ways : crowdfunding campaigns to collect donations for health staff, hospitals or families affected by the disease, consumers mobilised on behalf of their retailers, development of short distribution channels, not to mention the outpouring of solidarity between residents, retailers, institutions, etc.
Trusting local economic players and promoting, supporting and replicating their initiatives is our priority. It is now imperative to channel citizens’ savings, which are more abundant than ever, into local areas, so that they can support local businesses and projects1. Participative financing platforms and Business Angels networks deployed throughout France are effective players in this respect. In particular, equity crowdfunding allows everyone to participate in a transparent way in the recovery by financing an identified project chosen on a dedicated platform.
There are many ways of amplifying and facilitating this opportunity:
include these players in the Recovery Plan’s schemes, such as the « France Relance » label, to increase their recognition, and build on these agile, local financing tools ;
encourage private individuals to invest more in VSEs and SMEs, through tax mechanisms (for example, in the United Kingdom, investment in innovative SMEs is tax-exempt up to 50%), matching funds, guarantees or via citizen investment funds (e.g. « Herrikoa » in the Basque Country)
encourage local authorities to take advantage of participative financing as a tool for promoting local initiatives, and to support businesses and project leaders in their search for funding (the « Coup de pouce » initiative in Corrèze, or « Un projet, un coup de main » in Ardèche are good examples of this).
Developing and encouraging local forms of exchange and short circuits is a major challenge.
There are a number of ways to do this:
giving priority to purchasing from local producers on the part of major public and private operators, which presupposes adapting the public procurement code, but also training buyers, as well as simply and purely prohibiting the purchase of imported products that are not fair trade ;
supplementing local climate, air and energy plans with local carbon plans (e.g. La Rochelle), which give each category of player a sense of responsibility and support, and produce more tangible results than global carbon markets ;
Supporting the development of third places and opening them up to their local ecosystems (2,200 places in France where local resources and interactions can be exploited) and encouraging teleworking in rural and peri-urban areas ;
localise philanthropy in order to better identify and serve priorities, make sponsorship more relevant and give full meaning to national support through taxation ;
pay attention to financial technologies ("fintechs") and other digital players who provide innovative solutions (factoring, financial management tools, platforms for obtaining grants, bartering, crowdsourcing, etc.). These tools can be offered directly to businesses or via partnerships with public players such as local authorities. For example, in early 2021, France Barter (a B2B platform enabling SMEs to exchange goods and services without having to pay cash outlay) set up its exchange platform in the Seine Eure conurbation to boost economic exchanges in the area.
Supporting the local economic fabric to help it bounce back is a necessity for us. A paradigm shift is no longer an option.
Research work supports these orientations. Michael H. SHUMAN, an American economist specialising in the local economy, has highlighted the advantages for local areas of « local businesses » (those that are financed and run locally). A study by the University of Kassel shows that an investment can be up to eight times richer in medium-term local spin-offs if it is made by mobilising local resources (savings) and players (businesses). Recent work on « territorial metabolism » (Sabine Barles), the « local multiplier effect » responsible for a third of income disparities between regions, and the « local economic footprint of banks » (Cabinet Utopies) are powerful teaching aids for a new culture of resources that is territorial, global and systemic.
A stable regulatory framework, competent engineering and, above all, a strong political commitment on the part of public authorities will undeniably help local financial commitment and local exchanges. They are conducive to the emergence and development of projects, resilience, the ecological transition, social relations, personal fulfilment, local cooperation and changes in behaviour.
Our Collective calls for trust in local players, political responsibility and collective commitment to overcome this ecological, economic and social crisis. To do this, we need to include local players in the consultations on the recovery plans. We have the solutions, let’s seize them!