Last year, the National Agency for innovation (Anvar) distributed 295 million euros of aid against 268,5 millions in 2002. Information and communication technologies (electronics, Informatics and telecommunications) received almost a third and the science of life, including food, over one-quarter. "All of our aid grows by 10," says President of Anvar, Philippe Jurgensen, with in particular a clear progression of equipment due to the dynamism of innovation in the environment."
Innovation in environmental aid rose from 58 to EUR 10.6 million. But growth has been even stronger in related sectors such as chemistry or energy, where the nature of the activity makes or should make particularly pressing the protection of the environment. Aid for innovation in energy jumped 513 to EUR 5 million, in the chemistry of 134 to 13.6 million in transportation by 57 to 19.6 million.
One can see the beginning of a trend. "The success of protests us as CleanTech found momentum in the sector", for example recently indicated the leader of one of the main French funds, investing in venture capital funds. In France, the Emertec seed funds team is preparing a fund devoted to these themes.
The start-up that it helps in the sector, Anvar CITES Galloo Plastics, in Halluin (North). Advances for a total amount of approximately 270,000 euros have enabled the company to create and test industrial prototypes to recycle plastic polymers. Created in 1997, Galloo Plastics has a turnover of some 10 million euros, mainly from car manufacturers.
These repayable advances form the heart of the activity of Anvar since 1979. In 2003, two thirds of the aid took the form of these interest-free loans, to not render that in the event of success. The rate of return is stable from one year to the other, to 55, and, with the increase in regional and European budgets, to compensate for the reduction of the amounts allocated by the State.
The remaining one-third of the aid from the Anvar (28 of the total) is divided between direct subsidies and equity participation in capital (6). In three years, the Agency has thus invested EUR 38 million in 88 companies. It has build this year, like last year, more than 15 million euros in 30 to 40 companies. "Every invested euro helped to mobilize five other euros into equity for companies, while the banks closed the credit for young innovative companies", welcomes Philippe Jurgensen. The recent operations of this type include the Oncodesign laboratory in Dijon, specializing in the research against the cancer, or RocTools in Savoie-Technolac, specialized in composite materials.
A new role dispute
But the Agency has not calculated leverage for his other aides. Result, its new role as investor continues to grind teeth among those who believe that a public agency is not to be invited to the start-up capital. A polemic that savings not other aspects of its activity. It accuses him for example of inefficiency in its role as point of contact for European aid. French SMEs will receive, in effect, only 6 of the aid of the first tender of the European framework.
The agency seems to be entering a phase of transition. The Finance Act entrusted this year the management of 220 million additional euros, but left it to the Department of industry (Digitip and DGEMP) the award of the aid decision. She entrusts him with also the EUR 20 million of the asset program, which will return to the regions next year. And it is precisely in the regions, where there are already two-thirds of its 500 agents, that is at stake, the future of Anvar.