During the first confinement, the company Pulsion Design (Maine-et-Loire) participated in the creation of fabric masks to meet the needs. A decision that cost him dearly.
« We made masks out of solidarity, and we were excluded from the solidarity fund ». Vincent Bernard struggles to hide his anger. The leader of Ateliers Pulsion Design, a company located in the town of La Séguinière (Maine-et-Loire), is on the verge of bankruptcy after two years of health crisis, reports France 3 Pays de la Loire. In question: his participation in the national effort on masks at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic which deprived him of tens of thousands of euros in aid between June 2020 and September 2021.
Back in March 2020. At the time, Ateliers Pulsion Design carried out two complementary activities in textiles. On one side, a workshop for making prototypes for brands. On the other, a textile workshop specializing in the printing of sports jerseys and t-shirts for festivals and other fairs.
When the first confinement was decreed on March 17, Vincent Bernard saw this second activity come to a halt. He then decided to respond to the national call by making fabric masks. 400,000 units will be produced in its workshops.
Fall in turnover
Initially, this ephemeral activity turned out well. It allows the company to achieve a turnover of 500,000 euros, but « with 490,000 euros of purchases, 7000 euros of rent and thirty salaries to pay », it does not bring him anything, assures Vincent Bernard to BFM Business. Especially since at the end of confinement, fabric masks are gradually being abandoned in favor of surgical masks now available. As a result, the manager of Ateliers Pulsion Design finds himself with 25,000 masks on his arms.
But that’s not really the problem. Vincent Bernard especially deplores not having had full access to the solidarity fund set up by the government to support companies because of this mask manufacturing activity. However, its annual turnover has plummeted since the start of the crisis, dropping from 2 million to 800,000 euros.
However, « a 50% drop in turnover » was necessary for a company in the S1bis sector with fewer than 50 employees like his to benefit from the solidarity fund, explains Vincent Bernard. « We were in it, » he says. But another condition, not fulfilled this time, was required to receive all the aid: “a drop in turnover of at least 80% during the first confinement”, continues the entrepreneur.
22 fewer employees
As a result, Vincent Gérard will only have received in all is for all 1500 euros per month over six months, i.e. 9000 euros, whereas he estimates that he could have claimed a total of 350,000 euros if he had not not embarked on the making of masks during the first confinement. At least he thinks that he should not have finally informed the turnover achieved thanks to this activity in the form for access to the solidarity fund:
“I may have been naive (…). I could have not checked this box. We were selling our masks to local professionals and pharmacies. We were no longer receiving customers. take away that we could not count in turnover. I have lots of colleagues who unchecked this box because it was take-out, « explains the manager.
After two years of crisis, Vincent Bernard is on the verge of closing down. At the end of December, he went before the commercial court, while the workforce of his company has already been drastically reduced, from 30 to 12. And « we will be 8 in a month », he specifies. . To revive himself, he tried to launch his brand of clothing made in France: « I had the agreements of the banks but as I did not have the aid, they withdrew from the project », he still laments. .
He now plans to sell his company. Unless Bercy agrees to look into his situation. But for the time being, the multiple letters addressed to the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire have remained unanswered.