Launch of a scheme to help businesses set up in rural communities

According to INSEE, nearly 21,000 communes have no shops at all, representing 62% of all French communes. This fact reinforces the loss of attractiveness of the areas concerned, which are mainly rural, and creates a feeling of deterioration in the quality of life for local residents. In an attempt to remedy this situation, the French government has just launched a scheme to support the establishment of rural businesses. Find out more about this new scheme.

21,000 rural towns with no shops

Over the past 40 years, the situation has deteriorated for rural communities. In 2021, 21,000 communes had no shops at all, representing 62% of French communes, compared with 25% in 1980. This decline is reflected in an increase in commercial vacancy, with more and more premises being closed or abandoned. It is also leading to difficulties for residents in accessing baskets of everyday services. For example, the median journey to the nearest shopping center is 10 minutes, compared with 2.6 minutes in the most densely populated areas.

To support disadvantaged populations and boost the attractiveness of rural areas, the French government has launched a scheme to help businesses set up shop in rural areas.

12 million euros to support the establishment of permanent and mobile businesses

The scheme is designed to support the establishment of sedentary multi-service businesses in rural areas, or non-sedentary businesses with a minimum number of visiting days in rural communities. Project sponsors may be public or private entities. They must have the support of the local authority in which they are located, and demonstrate their ability to bring their project to fruition.

Applications are reviewed and grants awarded as follows:

  1. Submit your application on the platform
  2. Prefecture instruction and prioritization
  3. Transfer of file to ANCT (Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires)
  4. COTECH (Technical Committee) review and ranking of requests
  5. Defining the amount of the subsidy awarded
  6. Signature of the grant agreement with the project leader
  7. Formulation of payment requests

The government has announced an allocation of 12 million euros for the period 2023-2024. Investment grants of up to 80,000 euros per project will be available. In concrete terms, for sedentary businesses, the acquisition of premises and work to refurbish the premises could be subsidized up to 50%, up to a maximum of 50,000 euros. For itinerant businesses, the subsidy is set at 50% of capital expenditure, up to a maximum of 20,000 euros. In addition, the retailer may be granted a maximum of 5,000 euros for support services he may need to bring his project to fruition, such as the purchase of customer payment solutions (a mobile payment terminal or a till receipt terminal, for example).


Opening in March 2023

The counter at the prefectures has been open since March 1. It is up to interested parties to find out about the selection and eligibility criteria required by this reconquest program on the website of the Ministry of the Economy, or theANCT, before notifying their departmental prefecture, which is responsible for identifying and processing projects.