France’s top 100 SMEs

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What is the situation for French SMEs? In 2016, France had 4 million small and medium-sized non-agricultural market enterprises (including micro-enterprises). In 2015, this represented 99.9% of enterprises, 48.3% of salaried employment (full-time), 42.7% of value added and 15.4% of export turnover. Manageo, the French leader in data activation (30,000 customers in 16 years, 10 billion in data collected), studied the data of 35,203 SMEs in France based mainly on the evolution of the net result in order to establish a ranking of the 100 most successful SMEs.

3 business sectors stand out

This ranking highlights the 3 most successful sectors of activity. The latter thus represent more than half of the most successful French SMEs. This is mainly trade with 27% of the companies in the ranking; followed by manufacturing with 16% of SMEs; and finally construction with 12% of SMEs in the ranking.

Here are the top 10 of this ranking:

  1. Bofinger Sarl, Hauts-de-Seine, accommodation and catering;
  2. Strategy Development Engineering, Val-de-Marne, Construction;
  3. Gemway Assets, Paris, Financial and Insurance Activities;
  4. In X Tenso, Paris, Specialized, scientific and technical activities;
  5. Soc Antona Et Cofi, Hauts-de-Seine, Construction;
  6. A S D Auto, Vosges, Auto Trade and Repair / Motorcycles;
  7. Ecorenove, Rhone, Auto Trade and Repair/Motorcycles;
  8. Esclans Caves, Var, Auto Trade and Repair/Motorcycles;
  9. Societe Soframotel, Essonne, Accommodation and Catering;
  10. Sarl des Hauts de Villiers, Dawn, Trade and repair of automobiles / motorcycles.

Seniority is a guarantee of performance for 66% of companies in the top 100, which are more than 16 years old. However, new businesses (less than 5 years of existence) are more agile and can more easily adapt to a corporate culture. They are 5 companies in the rankings including Bofinger Sarl in first place.

French SMEs Online Sales Digitalization Performance Bordeaux Business
Online shopping is becoming widespread thanks to e-commerce.

Île-de-France has almost half of the companies in the top 100

The Île de France represents nearly 48% of the most successful French SMEs, which seems quite logical to us because the region concentrates the largest number of companies in France. However, the distribution over the four major geographical areas is quite equivalent. The north-east of France (Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) represents 16% of the most successful companies in the country; The north-west (Normandy, Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Centre-Val de Loire) accounts for 10%; The south-west (Nouvelle Aquitaine and Occitanie) accounts for 13%; And thethe south-east (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Corsica) also accounts for 13%.

There is a disparity in some regions. PACA for example (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) is the third region in terms of number of companies with the Île de France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. However, it represents only 3% of the top 100 companies.

French SMEs and digital

Digital solutions such as big data, CRM or AI are not necessarily the strengths of French companies. However, they adapt to technological developments in order to keep up with consumer trends. Indeed, the customer has access to information through the various technological media (smartphone, tablet, computer …) immediately. He wants to find the service or product that meets his needs. It is therefore essential for companies to be present on the web and social networks.

The French SMEs and mid-caps in the ranking are 90% present on the web via a website. In contrast, only 38% have at least one account on a social network.

French SMEs and social networks, the right equation?

A study carried out by BPI France deals with the relationship between social networks and French SMEs / mid-caps. It emerges first, that social networks are not sufficiently exploited by French SMEs / mid-caps, 71% have an account but 64% are not very active or inactive. 80% of them spend less than €10k/year, including personnel costs and 40% do not spend any budget on it. On the other hand, only 32% of SMEs and mid-caps say they are active on networks, and only 4% are very active.

For example, theSocial networks are not the priority for 70% of SME / ETI managers and 84% of them lack time. In addition, There is no real communication strategy on social networks (relay of information and publication of photos).

Of course, French SMEs and mid-caps with direct contact with the customer have more appetite to register on a social network. On the other hand, it is the sensitivity of the manager for the subject that constitutes the 1st factor of commitment of the company on the networks. The study also identifies 4 corporate behaviors on social networks. On the one hand, we have 44% of the ‘silent masses’, 28% of pioneering companies, 19% of ‘casual’ and 9% of ‘combative’;

4 key uses of social networks enable a quick and effective action plan: prospecting and selling, improving customer relations, increasing visibility (customers, partners, employees…) and doing competitive and sectoral intelligence.

performance French SMEs and eti importance website social networks communication Bordeaux Business
Social networks and media, the accelerators of SMEs

French SMEs are therefore more efficient in the field of trade. For good reason, eThey are directly in front of the consumer and must therefore adapt quickly and effectively to the risk of sinking. They must also become aware of the power of social networks for their activity and for the loyalty and good management of the customer relationship. The concentration of the most successful SMEs is obviously in Ile de France, so the region remains very attractive for companies and conducive to performance, although the other regions of France are not left out, especially in the regions. Nouvelle-Aquitaine where large companies set up to develop their activity.

The crisis, the brake on certain sectors for French SMEs

The COVID-19 crisis has not had a good impact on French SMEs. Indeed, it has marked a sometimes violent halt to certain sectors. These include the UNHCR sector, tourism and culture. Pillar sectors of the French economy, at an almost total standstill for a year.

Despite the aid offered by the State through the recovery plan, as well as aid from the region… French SMEs remain quite pessimistic. The export brake also marks a penalty for SMEs that worked internationally. Thus, some companies lose value, while others have been able to make this period an opportunity, which could change the ranking.

The place of women in French SMEs

In recent years, the place of women has been at the heart of thinking within companies. Indeed, there is talk of establishing a quota of women in the management bodies of companies. If gender parity seems to be a clear subject today, it is not necessarily systematically applied. The Minister of the Economy Bruno le Maire intervenes in particular in support with a legislative initiative in this direction.

On the other hand, it must be said that some women did not wait for this to embark on entrepreneurship. Women Equity shows this point every year by analyzing the performance of SMEs and mid-caps. The company observes in particular companies whose turnover is between 4 and 150 million euros in all sectors combined. The numbers speak for themselves. Indeed, each year, the results show that women-led or co-led businesses perform better than all-male companies. In 2020, women-led businesses show a growth rate of 5.5% while those led by men show a growth rate of 4.8%.

Within Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the company Whiskies du monde led by FLORENCE OLIET-PONTOIZEAU is in the rankings.


INSEE – 08/11/2018

CEDEF Economy (Government) 20/12/2018

Manageo – Julie GIRARD 15/01/2019

The key figures of the study “SMEs/ETI and social networks”, BPI France, December 2018

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