As a foreign entrepreneur, you need to think carefully about where to set up your business in France. We will explain the key criteria you need to consider and why our region should be at the top of your list!
France is a great place to set up a business, with its strong economy, vibrant culture, and supportive government. But its area of more than 550,000 sqm, makes it the largest country in the European Union. This means that when it comes to choosing a city or region to set up a business in, many options are available so it is worth thinking about it carefully to be sure you are making the right choice.
International entrepreneurs need to be aware of the key factors they should consider when establishing a business in France, including proximity to markets, availability of talent, financing facilities, and quality of life.
Optimise your proximity to markets
Proximity to markets is an important consideration when locating a business in France. If you’re planning to sell your products or services in the country, then you will want to choose a location that is close to your target market.
Paris is the obvious choice for most businesses, as it’s the largest city in France and has a large consumer base. However, the French capital is also one of the most expensive cities in the world, so you will need to weigh up the benefits of living in the capital against the cost of doing business in it.
Compared to Paris, real estate can be up to 6 times cheaper in one of the main cities in Atlantic France. According to the Arthur Lloyd 2021 barometer, renting a “premium” office costs around €920/sqm/year (excl. tax and charges) in Paris, €210/sqm/year in Nantes, €160/sqm/year in Angers and €150/sqm/year in Le Mans (which is only an hour away from Paris by train!)
If you’re planning to sell your products or services in different regions or outside of France, then you’ll want to choose a location that is well-connected. In Atlantic France, we have:
- An international airport that serves more than 100 destinations
- High-speed train (TGV) railways
- Several motorways to reach Paris, the Benelux countries and Southern Europe (Spain, Portugal)
- The biggest port on the French Atlantic coast
- Cities with efficient public transportation networks
- A strong expertise in logistics
It can also be strategic to be close to providers and partners. Atlantic France stands out for its industrial ecosystem with numerous players that are experts in fields such as advanced manufacturing, electronics, robotics, digitisation, etc. The region is at the forefront of collaborative innovation and is home to many labs and shared research platforms such as the Technocampuses.
Ensure good availability of talent
The availability of labour is another key consideration when choosing a business location in France. You will want to choose an area that has a large pool of qualified workers to choose from. Paris has the largest selection in France, but it’s also the most competitive market.
If you’re looking for expertise in specific areas, such as tech, or engineers in emerging sectors like marine renewables, then you’ll want to choose a location that has a high concentration of the right skills. Atlantic France is home to some top-quality schools and universities, of which receive around 140,000 students each year in total and which therefore provide companies with competent talent.
Gain easy access to financing
Access to financing is another important consideration when choosing a business location in France. You will want to choose a place that has access to a wide range of financing options, including venture capital, angel investors, and government grants.
Like in all big cities in France, such as Nantes and Angers, access to a wide range of financing options is available. In addition, entrepreneurs can obtain dedicated financial aid from local public bodies, starting with the regional council, for which we can provide you with up-to-date and efficient support.
Offer your staff the best quality of life
Moving your team to a new location or recruiting skilled new talent can be quite challenging, and quality of life is another important consideration when choosing a location to set up your business in France. You will surely want to choose a location that has a high quality of life, with good schools, healthcare, and preserved countryside.
French big cities are famous for their cultural attractions, but can also be known for being crowded and expensive. In Atlantic France, cities are much less expensive than Paris and offer a tremendous quality of life thanks to the proximity of the seaside where there are 215 km of beaches, rivers, and ponds. You will also find more than 2,800 kilometres of cycle routes, cheap real estate, good availability of individual housing, a temperate climate, and more. As proof of these high-quality-of-life standards, a study recently revealed that Atlantic France inhabitants are the happiest in the country!
Want to make the move?
Contact our business advisors for a free tailor-made accompaniment.