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Creating a business in France: simple & sustainable

Setting up a business in France has never been so simple. The French government has done much in recent years to reform aspects of the procedure, making France one of the most business-friendly countries in Europe.

A cost-competitive, business-friendly environment

To stimulate competitiveness, and attract investors, the French government has launched a number of initiatives. One such innovation initiative is the “National Investment Program”, launched to meet the twin challenges of the knowledge economy and sustainable growth.

France is also preparing to launch a State investment bank to support entrepreneurial spirit in France. Its objective is to offer diverse finance programs to small businesses at different stages of development.

Furthermore, foreign investment in France is free of any administrative restrictions. Investors are able to buy or rent property, acquire French companies or create their own legal entity, without having to invest a minimum amount or create a minimum number of jobs.

The selected legal structure may be implemented on a temporary or permanent basis without running any legal risks, and investors are also free to amend their plans once they have been submitted.

Administrative formalities have also been streamlined and the lead-time for setting up a business in France is now among the shortest in the world. The possibility of completing all the required formalities online means it is possible to register a company in a matter of hours.


Today, almost 80% of French public services are accessible through the internet:

> A secured web portal called Net-enterprises (www.net-entreprises.fr) allows companies to submit annual corporate declarations.

> Through an alternative secured portal, impots.gouv.fr, companies and individuals can submit and pay annual taxes. In 2011, almost 85% of French value-added tax (VAT) and corporate taxes were settled through this website.

> Paperless procedures including digital signatures have been introduced for public tenders.

> Seventy-eight percent of companies use digital administration services in France, compared to 75% on average in Europe. (6th report of the Directorate General for State Modernisation 2011)

France: an attractive investment proposition

  • Competitive tax initiatives,notably France’s research tax credit (Crédit Impôt Recherche –CIR) and simplified business processes underpin France’s commitment to innovation and excellence.
  • A simplified legal status for the self-employed, known as ‘auto-entrepreneur’ was introduced in 2009 and has been a popular choice among business startups:

550,000 new businesses were registered in France, in 2011, including 290,000 under the auto-entrepreneur status. (INSEE 2012)

  • Changes have been made to employment law: for example,a new contract termination procedure was introduced in 2008: the rupture conventionnelle (termination by mutual consent).