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The Bpifrance South Region Directorate is the regional office of Bpifrance, placed under the supervision of the Caisse des Dépôts. Bpifrance (formerly OSEO), has five main fields of activities including innovation, enterprise growth, internationalisation, enterprise creation and enterprise transfer. In the field of innovation, Bpifrance is one of the main actors providing financing opportunities and support, as well as technical and marketing support to enterprises carrying out innovative projects. The agency provides assistance by sharing the financial risks generated by such projects with enterprises, through different types of aid schemes: grants, loans, repayable advances and guarantee schemes. Bpifrance's aid schemes provide support throughout the whole innovation cycle of the projects, from the feasibility study to the commercialisation stage.
Bpifrance’s innovation support mechanisms can be grouped into three categories:
- Financial support includes all mechanisms for innovation aimed at sharing the risks generated by R&D projects and improving SME access to private financing. This usually comes in form of direct grants. Examples include support mechanisms for R&D collaborative projects within competitiveness clusters, the creation of innovative businesses, strategic industrial innovation projects, or technology transfer projects.
- Bank financing instruments aim at improving access to bank loans in order to finance the production cycle, to increase the cash flow and to guarantee the risks taken by banking and financial partners. Examples include innovation development contracts (guarantee-free loans in order to finance intangible assets needed for an innovation project), innovation guarantee funds, and biotech guarantees aimed at improving SME's access to biotechnology.
- Support services aim at providing technical assistance and expertise to SMEs for carrying out an innovation project. Assistance is provided in order to find the necessary partners to build transnational technological projects, carry out certification procedures to improve access to public funds, and networking with potential project partners.
In 2016, Bpifrance supported 6787 enterprises in the region with a total funding of €2,1b representing a participation in 225 companies. There is a strong collaboration with the Regional Council of Grand Est.