Ecological transition for VSEs and SMEs: aid schemes deemed too complex

The proliferation of aids to help companies make the ecological transition is making the offer less coherent and easier for beneficiaries to understand. A report published by the Inspectorate General of Finance (IGF) on November 20 suggests that the effectiveness of the schemes available to VSEs and SMEs should be better assessed, by merging or abolishing some of them if necessary.

340 ecological transition aids

The report by the French Inspectorate General of Finances lists 340 aids available to businesses to facilitate their ecological transition. Of these, 200 are provided by chambers of commerce and 60 by chambers of trade. In 2022, this offer reached only a minority of companies, for a total of 40 million euros. ADEME's 144 schemes are equivalent to 1.3 billion euros paid out.


For the past fifteen years, two players have specialized insupporting very small businesses: ADEME and Agence de la Transition Ecologique. At the same time, Bpifrance is also very active, as are the consular chambers. Despite these developments, the sheer number of schemes on offer can be counterproductive. Some are only used by a dozen or so companies.

The authors of the report recommend that the General Secretariat for Ecological Planning take charge of the coordination, monitoring and development of these aids. They also warn against the proliferation of "one-stop shops", which could encourage non-use.

Launch of the Mission Transition Écologique platform for VSEs and SMEs

Despite these warnings, the document stresses the relevance of " a truly unique platform " to avoid " the piling up of information channels ". Indeed, Olivia Grégoire, the French Minister for SMEs, and Christophe Béchu, the French Minister for Ecological Transition, recently announced the launch of the "Mission Transition Écologique" platform for VSEs and SMEs.

The main objectives of this platform are to

  • increase the number of companies committed to the ecological transition,
  • increase the number of people taking action through public assistance and support,
  • make the services offered by operators more accessible,
  • improve monitoring of the deployment of these aids.

Eventually, it will offer companies a complete user pathway, with the possibility of self-diagnosis, referral to relevant aids and schemes, and information on actions to be taken.

In practical terms, two application processes are available. For companies who don't know where to start, all they have to do is answer a few questions to obtain the most convincing results. For those with a clearly identified objective, the service suggests the most appropriate aid.

" This platform meets our ambition to give power to the ecological transition of companies through demanding planning, in order to achieve rapid results in terms of energy savings and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions ," says Christophe Béchu in a press release published on November 29, 2023.