France is an attractive destination for entrepreneurs. By choosing our country to set up or relocate a business, you will benefit from many advantages such as its strategic location, the availability of great talent, business-friendly policies with support schemes for innovative projects, and high quality of life.
Why start a business in France? The country has a thriving economic environment and a lot to offer to investors. Below are the most important arguments for choosing France as the location for setting up your company.
Pick a strategic location for international businesses
France is at the heart of the European market, close to major economies such as Germany, Italy, Spain, and Benelux. The UK, of course, is also a key partner, being just across the channel, and since Brexit occurred there has been an increase in the number of business establishment projects in Atlantic France.
In addition, our country has excellent transportation networks:
- Many high-speed railway lines: with the TGV, Paris is only 2 hours far from Nantes and 1 hour from Le Mans, for example
- International airports: from Nantes Atlantique airport, you can fly to more than 100 destinations worldwide
- Major seaports: Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port, the largest port on France’s Atlantic coast, represents 30 million tonnes of traffic per year, offers shipping routes to 400 ports on all continents and direct container shipping routes to the West Indies and the west coast of Africa
- Top quality highways: Atlantic France has 410 miles of high-speed roads, with a West-East motorway giving access to Paris and Lyon and a North-South motorway which goes towards Brussels and London on one side and Spain and Portugal on the other
France is a country with a great maritime tradition, being surrounded by several seas: the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the English Channel to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. In Atlantic France, we are aware of the importance of the sea for the economy and the logistics of the future and we are mobilised, for example, in the development of using sailing as a means of sea freight. Our ambition is to promote the maritime decarbonisation sector by welcoming companies in this field, and we organise the Wind for Goods event in Saint-Nazaire.
Last but not least, French society is multicultural and welcoming and has a long tradition of integrating foreign economic partners and residents, with the ability to promote cross-fertilisation and exchange.
Hire a highly skilled workforce
When it comes to recruiting, it is important to be able to rely on a good talent pool. France has a strong and varied know-how when it comes to engineering, science, and technology. The country is home to many prestigious universities and 36 business schools, top-quality research centres, and innovative and state-of-the-art training centres.
In Atlantic France, the University of Nantes has joined forces with several teaching, health, and research establishments to create Nantes Université, a world-class public higher education and research institution that represents more than 42,000 students.
Benefit from a stable economy
A key member of the Eurozone, France also has one of the largest and most stable economies in Europe. According to the International Monetary Fund, France’s GDP should be around $2.806 billion in 2023, making the country the 7th largest economy in the world.
The country’s economic stability is also due to its well-established financial sector (and the fact that several French banks are being established abroad), and to the presence of a significant number of multinational corporations in a large range of industries such as the aeronautics, energy, environmental, pharmaceutical, luxury, and agri-food sectors.
Make the most of business-friendly policies and facilities
In France, public bodies support entrepreneurship and innovation through dedicated policies with tax breaks, grants, and subsidies. In 2021, for example, the government launched “France Relance”, an extraordinary investment plan of €100 billion over two years, including €30 billion for ecological transition. In Atlantic France, the regional council has decided to make green hydrogen a priority and has announced a €100 million plan.
At Business Solutions Atlantic France, we help foreign companies set up, recruit, network, etc. Our services are free of charge and fully confidential, and we are also committed to maintaining and developing the links between our more than 1,000 internationally-owned companies which have a dedicated business club, tailor-made events, exchange projects, and reciprocal visits.
And if you are looking to innovate, be it in your products and services, your organisation, or your way of doing business, France is the place to be. We have numerous incubators, accelerators, innovation hubs, shared labs and business clusters, all of which are for sharing knowledge and all of which contain cutting-edge facilities to foster open innovation.
Contribute to building a sustainable economy
Environmental sustainability is a top priority for developing the French economy. We are convinced that the industries of tomorrow must be built in a way that respects natural resources, ecosystems, and the well-being of future generations. In Atlantic France, we therefore favour responsible and committed business implementation projects and we strive to help all stakeholders in order to improve their practices.
We are also mobilising around the ethical aspect of innovation, as evidenced by the form we have given to our brand new European Digital Innovation Hub, DIVA, which focuses on the use of data and AI in an ethical framework, with particular focus on respect for personal data.
The social economy plays a crucial role in the French economy and French society. Comprising cooperatives, mutual societies, associations, and social enterprises, the social economy sector accounts for almost 10% of France’s GDP and employs over 2.3 million people. Providing essential services in areas such as healthcare, housing, and education, the social economy in France is recognised for its ability to generate inclusive growth and build resilient communities.
Finally, France has a strong commitment to racial and gender equity. In Atlantic France, we are the French region with the highest proportion of working women and we are committed to improving the representation of women in industries such as manufacturing or the digital sector.
Enjoy an exceptional quality of life
France offers an exceptional quality of life, making it a desirable destination for people from all over the world. With a rich cultural heritage ranging from art to cuisine, France is a treasure trove of experiences to suit all interests.
France also boasts an excellent healthcare system, with universal coverage and quality services available to all. The country’s strong social welfare system ensures that everyone has access to basic necessities and support in times of need. The education system is also highly regarded, offering free and high-quality education to students from all backgrounds.
In addition, France’s emphasis on work-life balance leaves plenty of time to enjoy all the country has to offer, from leisurely meals to scenic walks in the countryside. The beauty of France’s natural landscapes, from its mountains to its beaches, is well preserved and provides ample opportunities for outdoor adventure and relaxation.
Among the French regions, Atlantic France is one of the regions with the best quality of life, and a study showed that it is even the happiest place to be in France, with 81% of its inhabitants describing themselves as “happy”!
Are you convinced? Take a look at our priority sectors in Atlantic France and discover the opportunities that await you in our region.
We offer a free business establishment support service, so contact us for more information or personalised business documentation.