#Entrepreneurs — 04.12.2017

Results of the 2017 Women Equity Index: Top 50 fastest-growing women-led SMEs

Women Equity, in partnership with BNP Paribas Wealth Management, has unveiled the results of the 8th national Women Equity Index, celebrating the 50 top-performing independent female-run companies in France.

Established yearly for France since 2010, the Women Equity Index analyses the performances of nearly 40,000 French companies with revenues of between €4 million and 100 million. For the 2017 edition, the Index documented the last three financial years of 32,140 SMEs, including 4,765 led or co-led by women, from which the 50 winners were selected.

The awards ceremony was held at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel and was attended by Delphine Gény-Stephann, the new Secretary of State to the Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance.

The 2017 Women Equity Index provides a unique insight into the 50 best-performing independent companies headed by women. This year, we are noticing that these female executives are increasingly looking towards digital transformation services, while pursuing a strategy of international expansion.”

Sofia Merlo

Co-CEO of BNP Paribas Wealth Management

The Index honours the 50 top-performing independent female-run companies, based on the best combined performances in terms of revenue growth (over one year, over three years, and in value) and profitability (rate and growth over three years).

Among the key takeaways:  

  • A majority (64% for the 2017 awards vs. 60% last year) of the companies in the Top 50 have expanded internationally, particularly in the healthcare, industry and TMT (technologies, media and telecommunications) sectors.
  • Since the 2016 edition, the most successful female-led companies have been in innovative business services, with 28% of the winners, industry with 26%, distribution with 20% and TMT at 12%. This compares with the very different breakdown of the 32,140 companies documented in the Women Equity Index, with specialised retail topping the list at over 33%, industry at 18% and the TMT sector accounting for less than 5%.
  • The composition of the 2017 Index is indicative of three major underlying trends:

- The weight of the services sector illustrates the needs of the economy in terms of digital transformation (Partenor, Takoma, etc.), the demand for operational optimisation (Steam'O, RGS), the need for flexibility (Davricourt, Temporis, WellJob), and security and certification (Alpa Group)

- Industry is experiencing new momentum, driven by a wave of technological innovation (BOA Concept, Braincube, Velum), and an increasing awareness towards health and environmental issues (CCL, Gazignaire, Sauermann, Urbasolar, etc.)

- Retail and consumer products are once again strongly represented, thanks to an upturn in demand as the sector undergoes a transformation based on product innovation and the upsurge of interest in organic products (Good Goût, Ste Lucie, Bleu Libellule, Embryolisse, Bio&Co, Château Roubine, etc.)

These champions of profitable growth are engaged in major digital changes that affect their production, customer experiences and human relationships. Niche positioning, based on distinctive business models or innovative services, is a key factor in the success of the Top 50 companies, including in areas considered mature (Verona, AC Média, Domaines Pierre Chavin, Whiskies du Monde).

The 2017 Index:

Discover the profiles of the 50 Laureates of the 2017 Women Equity Index here.

About BNP Paribas Private Banking

As the leading private bank in France in assets under management, it manages 97 billion euros (as of September 30, 2017). Serving all affluent or wealthy clients in all regions of France, the French Private Banking unit supports traditional families as well as first-generation entrepreneurs, family-member managing shareholders, and employee members of the management committees of companies listed on the CAC 40 index or stock option executives.


About Women Equity

The Women Equity Program is the first initiative in Europe dedicated to providing financial and operational support to women-led growth SMEs. They support their sponsored companies by providing access to capital for their development plans, leveraging engaged business networks, and bringing visibility to the companies they sponsor. The program is committed to providing a better knowledge of the specificities of women-led companies and their impact on the economy through the wide dissemination of proprietary research and academic work on the subject. On national level, the Women Equity programs publishes the Women Equity Index which analyses every year the performances of 40,000 French SMEs and gather the 50 top-performing women-led SMEs. Lastly, the program animates communities of women executives to facilitate experience sharing, foster sound relationships and develop business networks.


Press contact: Claire Helleputte– 01 55 77 89 63 – claire.helleputte@bnpparibas.com