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When large groups help SMEs grow

Developed by Pacte PME, this program must enable 12 SME executives and health start-ups to accelerate their growth in contact with major players in the sector.

“Our economy must be more collaborative”. Based on this observation, the Association Pacte PMEhas set itself the goal, since its creation in 2010, to bring together SMEs and large groups groups through various programs, including one on strengthening branches.
In 2016, major players from the aeronautics sector came together to build a program to accelerate SMEs in the sector. The experience was renewed in 2017-2018, this time with several sectors: transport, rail and aeronautics. In January 2019, a third health-themed promotion was launched. “The French economy is trying to structure itself into sectors, and we have decided to tackle health because it represents a major challenge for the country’s economy,” explains François Perret, CEO of Pacte PME.

Each program has been designed to involve large groups to the maximum. The latest, Destination ETI santé, was launched on January 30, 2019. It brings together about twenty major players with “business skills in the health sector and more transversal skills”. The Sanofi, BNP Paribas, VYV and KPMG groups are among the very prestigious list of promotion accompanists made up of 12 SMEs and start-ups, most of which have been identified by partners.


Destination ETI Santé was built in collaboration with partner companies, most of whom volunteer. “We’ve built an argument: if you, the big groups, get involved, it’s because you’re going to be able to strengthen your own suppliers, you’re reducing their vulnerability. They understood that”, confirms François Perret.
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For their part, SMEs and selected start-ups did not hesitate for a second.“This gives us a certain privilege and access to decision-makers to forge partnerships,” says Celia Belline, co-founder and CEO of CILcare, a research and development company specializing in hearing set up in 2014 in Montpellier (Hérault). By integrating Destination ETI Santé, the entrepreneur aims to manage the growth of her company in a market with high potential. Growth is one of the main objectives of the program. “80% of the elements which are considered key to mastering the growth path are part of it ”, clarifies François Perret.


For one year, the members of the promotion will meet one day a month in the premises of partner companies to attend workshops and presentations. The seminars will address different themes specific to the company’s strategy: financing growth, dealing with large accounts or the new regulatory environment. This is always with the aim of covering as many individual cases as possible and advancing the entrepreneur alongside the large groups.
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Each SME or start-up has undergone an initial diagnosis to “see the gap between ambition and the current situation”, explains François Perret, who distinguishes three benefits: “a strategic upgrade of the company, an increase in the competence of the directors and a dialogue created between them”. Pacte PME hopes to create a community and bonds of solidarity between its members. “When people pitch, they immediately see complementarities emerge”, states François Perret.

A connection immediately discerned by Thibaud Nahon, founder and director of the SME Pharmacos, a Lyon-based engineering consultancy“This gives us visibility into the strategy of large groups. Once we understand their needs more clearly, we will be able to meet them more effectively. At the end of the year, the challenge will be to maintain relations with the group. Something must be created”.


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Z.A.C. de Sacuny
440 rue Barthélémy Thimonnier
69530 Brignais – France

Tel. +33 (0)4 37 57 78 78


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