At a time when 10% of companies made available to be bought out or transferred in France close every year because there is no one to take them over and when the departure of a retiring owner or senior manager accounts for one in every two companies which are made available to be taken over, the workers cooperative movement has decided to deploy all of its efforts to ensure that activities and jobs are preserved within healthy companies.
Having been initially established by the General Confederation of Cooperative and Participation-based Enterprises (CG Scop), the transfer of these healthy SMEs, which represent only 9% of the total of Scops created, represents a real challenge at the national level.
The campaign, which was launched in 2013, is aimed directly at company leaders and it provides a light-hearted overview of the long decision-making process which leads them to choosing the person to take over their company; the campaign touches upon the uncertainty surrounding the reliability of the person who may take over the company, before highlighting an “obvious” solution, namely that of transferring the company to the employees.
A multi-media campaign
For this third wave of the campaign (following the launch of the previous two in February and June), the communication team has devised the following slogan: “and what if the best people to take over your company already work for it?” The campaign has been launched across all media platforms: national and regional press, the internet and, for the very first time, on television with the infomercial “Les repreneurs” (“Business Buyers”), which is being broadcast on national television (BFM TV and France Télévisions) and the internet (including social media).
At the very heart of the campaign there is a dedicated website, Jetransmetsamesalaries.fr (I am transferring my business to my employees), which provides a number of video recordings of people speaking about their own experiences and which was set up in order to explain to people who are trying to transfer their company the reasons why they should opt for a solution based on the creation of a Scop, as well as the conditions and the various stages involved in a successful transfer. CG Scop’s intention is to ensure that the transfer of a company to its employees through the creation of a workers cooperative is no longer seen to be an exception, but is rather an option given the same consideration as any other.
The communication campaign points out something that is very clear: choosing someone to take over one’s company is a lengthy process. There is a need to avoid making any mistakes regarding the potential buyer’s personality, even though it is obvious that there are risks entailed in selling a company to a third party. But there is a solution close at hand, a solution that could not be more natural: transferring the company to its employees. This is the notion behind the slogan being used in the multi-media campaign: “and what if the best people to take over your company already work for it?”
Other actions also undertaken as part of the campaign include a qualitative study on the obstacles and the arguments in favour of turning a company into a workers cooperative, carried out in Spring 2013 amongst people looking to pass on their business and chartered accountants, so as to establish an up-to-date knowledge of the potential targets and to put together a solid argument.
Since the beginning of the campaign, the Jetransmetsamessalaries.fr website has had more than 50,000 hits and 210 specific projects have been identified at the regional level.
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037