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The Bpifrance Picardy regional direction is the regional office of the Public investment bank (Bpifrance, former OSEO). It has four main fields of activity including innovation, enterprise growth, internationalisation, and enterprise succession and transfer. This agency is under the joint supervision of the Ministries in charge of Industry, SMEs and Research. In the field of innovation, Bpifrance is one of the main actors providing financing opportunities and support, as well as technical, scientific, financial and marketing advice to enterprises wishing to carry out innovative projects. It provides assistance by sharing the financial risks generated by such projects with enterprises, through a diversity of mechanisms such as subventions, loan or guarantee schemes. Bpifrance also offers counseling on project setup and management throughout the whole innovation cycle, from the feasibility until the commercialisation phases of the project.
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, with the aim to provid technical assistance and expertise to SMEs, which are 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 6518 enterprises in the region with a total funding of €1,6b representing a participation in 251 companies. There is a strong collaboration with the Regional Council of Hauts-de-France