The virtues of family capitalism

Starting from nothing, in ten years, David Pouyanne has built a group specialised in commercial real estate that has doubled its revenues each year. What drives his success? A strategy that encompasses key business lines, innovative team coaching and strong entrepreneurial values.

David Pouyanne has been fascinated by entrepreneurship since he was very young and as a child he loved to read biographies about entrepreneurs. His enthusiasm was probably inspired by his family history - his great-grandfather successfully set up businesses in a variety of sectors including engine manufacturing, insurance and the hotel sector.

An integrated strategy open to opportunities

In 2006, after a successful career in banking, David decided to create his own company and founded DPG, which is now Essor group. He now employs 150 people in 10 sites in France and generates revenues of €72 million. The company’s success derives from its clear positioning: to meet all the needs arising with the construction of buildings used by professionals. Over the years, the group has constantly expanded its activities, which now cover property development, engineering, the construction of agri-food plants and real estate investment solutions. And David is full of ideas, with plans to launch new activities for the healthcare and aerospace sectors. “It’s a great adventure and it’s extremely rewarding. I want to get the most out of my life choices.”

Strong values and team coaching

David draws on his employees’ talents to further his group’s growth, and he is fully aware of his responsibilities as a manager, “By creating jobs, we enable our employees and their families to live with dignity. An SME is responsible and social by nature and is therefore firmly committed to CSR.” David was National Chairman of the Réseau Entreprendre entrepreneurs’ network for four years, and to identify the best profiles when recruiting, he relies on the professionalism of his in-house HR team of four people. The group recruited 50 people in 2017 alone! “The secret to success lies in management. We recruit candidates who share the values that define me personally and that were passed to me by my family: loyalty, commitment and the search for personal fulfilment while serving the collective interest. One of our group’s original features is that we have a full-time coach, who is assisted by 3 freelance coaches.” Their role is to identify and solve problems, which often relate to management issues. “They work mainly on a case-by-case basis, focusing on providing individual support. For example, when an employee starts in a new position, we help them understand all the dimensions of their duties so we can help them succeed from the outset.”

Transforming risks into opportunities

This approach encourages a strategy based on initiative, “For me, opportunity is the mirror image of risk, and obviously I encourage my teams to move forward, because that’s the only way to succeed.” To do that, David relies on support from partners like banks. “They seem to be much better at supporting entrepreneurs now. This is particularly true at Societe Generale, which supported us from our very first deals. In my opinion, it is the “simplest” commercial bank. It has an understanding of all parts of the economy and makes extremely intelligent investments when it is convinced by an entrepreneur’s plans.”

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