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An article in La Vie Numérique (Digital Life), titled "What are Nicolas Sarkozy's plans in the information and communications technology sector?" (date May 4, 2007), starts:

Days away from the second round of the presidential elections, members of the website Commentcamarche.net put forth 10 questions to the two finalists regarding the information and communications technology sector (TIC).  While Ségolène Royal has not yet provided a response, this website presents those of Nicolas Sarkozy...

followed by a question-answer formatted article in which Sarkozy covers DRM, education, the Internet, even a "Small Business Act à la française" (the last admittedly specifically brought up in the question), among a host of issues that are hot button topics for the entreneurial, small-to-medium sized business, hi-tech crowd.

Note one question in particular:

How do you count on helping young innovative companies in the TIC are to get started and how will you ensure that the risks they take will be compensated in a manner comparable to the most dynamic countries?

I would have the State facilitate, stimulate and support the proliferation of micro-initiatves.  Business incubators in the universites will take part in this liberation of creativity.  Income gained through self-employment in the IT areas will be exempt from social charges and taxes up to a limit to be determined.  Beyond that, a more simplified law for IT micro-enterprises [one-person businesses] will allow these to increase and develop.  Promising fields such as the software industry, whatever the development model [I believe he is referring to conventional commercial development vs. open source development] or the video industry, will be recognized as priorities in order to liberate their potential for growth and developmentt. The development of small and medium sized enterprises will be supported as a whole.  As we sorely lack angel investors, I would like to attract investors to stay and come back to France with tax incentives: a 50% tax ceiling, and the possibility of deducting up to 50,000 euros invested in  a small-medium sized enterprise from the wealth tax.  A portion of state purchases and loans [marchés publics et des crédits publics de recherche: not sure about my translation] will be allotted to small-medium sized enterprises.  By allotting a part of state purchases to these businesses, we will giving them the possibility of accessing a volume of business that they are currently almost completely excluded from.

Well, I smell quite a bit of baloney in this answer, as in much of the article, as he just too smoothly hits all the right buzz words and hot topics.  Clearly, he has some excellent advisers and consultants.

But that is not the most important point here.  The really relevant thing is that Sarkozy responded at all, while Royal did not even send these guys a response (as the very first line in hte article emphasizes.)  Furthermore, in his response, he demonstrate an awareness, even a certain familiarity and currency with the issues and concerns in this area.

For these guys, these small businessy, entrepreneurial, tech-minded guys, these are top issues!  And they feel like she just blew them off.  No wonder if a lot of these guys voted for Sarkozy, even if he was just shoveling them a lot of beautiful blather.  (I have no idea how widely read La vie numérique is, but based on the vote results, I would not be surprised if it is representative of that high-tech small business segment.)

I'm not saying Royal should have served up the same stew of half-promises, but she should have at least showed she cared about their concerns.  And on top of that, by not responding, she left open the door for real doubts that she even has an awareness of minimal comptence on these issues.

It's true that she has emphasized the importance of small and medium sized companies from the start of her campaign.  Propositin 1 on her website is Invest massively in innovation and research, Proposition 3 is Support small/medium sized businesses, Proposition 4 is Prioritize business investment, and Proposition 5 is Provide support to young creator-entrepreneurs by assisting in business creation.  But as much as I like these -- and the priority she gives these -- she does not flesh out these objectives, only provides one sincerely written but perfunctory paragraph each, and provides no hard numbers anywhere, on timelines, expenses, taxes, ages, company sizes, etc.  For business people, this may not be the most persuasive thing.

Incidentally, if despite Royal's emphasis on small businesses, so many small business people voted for Sarkozy, it makes one wonder why 57% of 25 to 34 year olds voted for Sarkozy as well.  Did they also feel like Royal was not addressing their concerns?  If so, what were those concerns?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon May 7th, 2007 at 11:35:11 PM EST
Practical policies in respect of microbusiness is one of the areas where ET could add something to the debate, I am sure.

And naturally I believe (I would wouldn't I?) that the concept of the "Open Corporate" could be at the heart of such policies, which are making headway in both Scotland and Norway.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue May 8th, 2007 at 03:49:41 AM EST
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