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May 15, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

French startup harnessing AI to prevent business bankruptcies

A new system based on artificial intelligence will enable identification of struggling businesses in France and channel support to them. Called Signaux-Faibles (French for “weak signals”), the system is based on the collection, sharing and analysis of data from various government agencies, all with the aim of spotting businesses in difficulty.

 

Based on artificial intelligence, Signaux-Faibles is a business-support system that has just been successfully trialled over an 18-month period in the French region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, at the initiative of La Direccte (a decentralised department of the French Ministry of Labour) and URSSAF (a network collecting employee and employer social security contributions in France), as reported by Le Figaro.

 

Business data pooled and shared

 

Signaux-Faibles collects and pools the data held by a number of bodies, data that is often complementary in nature. It is analysed by an algorithm, which detects any statistics pointing to company weaknesses, up to 18 months before their potential failure.

Among the weaknesses the system can detect are cash flow problems reflected by unusual Urssaf debts, any decline in business activity resulting in only partial operations, negative net income, and falling turnover. 

 

Early warning system

 

Companies showing signs of weakness are listed and their cases submitted to monthly committees made up of commissioners of corporate restructuring and the prevention of business difficulties and the departmental heads of the various bodies concerned. The detection committee may then decide to contact the company owner to identify the cause of the weaknesses and offer them targeted solutions, provided through a policy officer at the Direccte office specialising in the industry in question. In critical situations, the commissioner of corporate restructuring and the prevention of business difficulties takes direct control of the case.

During the course of the 2018 trial, 63 companies in potential difficulty were detected in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, 48 of which received visits, leading in 83% of cases to support being provided. The Signaux-Faibles system will be rolled out in the regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, Occitanie and Les Hauts-de-France in coming months and will be available across the whole of France before the end of the year.

 

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