“So far this year, 50 youths have received funding in Plaine Commune.”

An interview with Nathalie Huon, Advisor for CréaJeunes and Credit Consultant for the ADIE.

What are the tangible benefits from the partnership between the ADIE and the Veolia Foundation for young business creators?
Any youth who launches a project in Plaine Commune[1] and receives funding from the ADIE comes within the purview of this partnership with the Veolia Foundation. We will automatically arrange several appointments for them with volunteers who will help them with administrative, commercial, legal and accounting matters. The volunteers are there to meet the youths’ demands by teaching them how to rely upon themselves and become independent. This ongoing support will last at least until the ADIE loan is paid up; some reimbursements take 24 months, others 30.  If they need further assistance after that, obviously we won’t turn them away. The Veolia Foundation’s financial contribution consists in funding the operational costs of this support.

There is a volunteer in charge of the Veolia Foundation partnership who contacts young people on a regular basis to find out whether they need any specific assistance. So far this year, 50 youths have received funding in Plaine Commune. To provide the best possible support, we need volunteers. Recruitment is difficult in Seine-Saint-Denis, unlike Paris. All Veolia employees are very welcome to join us!
Could you tell us about some of the youths whom you are supervising?
I am currently looking after Adjaratou, a young woman receiving ADIE funding to create a cleaning company for businesses and households. I provide her with administrative assistance: company registration, RSI forms (social security), invoice and quotation models etc. Adjaratou really appreciates this help which is making her more self-confident. The company is now operational, but it cannot grow because Adjaratou works alone. Her aim is to secure some bigger contracts so she can hire staff.

As an advisor for CréaJeunes, I meet with young people who have taken the course and now need funding. For instance, there is Iannis, a young man on welfare who received ADIE aid in November 2016. He has created a concept of five-a-side indoor football played in the dark, where players wear luminous accessories. He needs help in finding partner venues in Saint-Denis, where he lives.

Iannis has a STG baccalaureat (Tertiary-sector Science & Technology) and a HND in Business Communication. Many young people have diplomas but cannot find a fulfilling job. Often they are forced to take on casual work, even though they have some good ideas. Many of them keep a part-time job while they are putting their business together, for more financial security. The critical period in making a business viable is the third year; during the first two years, the creator will find customers within his close network. But after two years, that network gets exhausted and new customers must be found. That is why the ADIE helps creators to design an action plan to boost revenue so their business can last. In the event that they do not succeed, the experience will have provided them with a momentum thanks to which they will then find a job more suited to their skills. Whatever the end result, creating a business is about integration.
How would you summarise your substantial experience with business creators who receive support from the ADIE?
I started working with the ADIE in 1999. At the time, the association had 70 employees, and we are 500 in 2017. Since I wanted to be out in the field, I have held many positions while working with business creators. Even after 17 years’ working with the ADIE, I still greatly admire their commitment. You just have to respect them and the way they work so hard, and there’s no telling what tomorrow may bring… They are hanging on to see the reward of all that hard work.


[1] The cities of Plaine Commune in Seine-Saint-Denis are Aubervilliers, Epinay-sur-Seine, La Courneuve, l’Ile-Saint-Denis, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, Saint-Denis, Saint-Ouen, Stains and Villetaneuse.