How to boost your scale-up in France?

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Capturing the unique benefits of Europe’s number one business destination!
There are many advantages to establishing your business in France in 2022 – from great investment opportunities, to a favorable fiscal and legal environment and plenty of high-skilled workers.
If you’re wondering how to set up shop in France, in this article we go over the main stages involved in establishing your business in Europe’s number one business destination!

Why France?

In the last decade, France has cemented its leading position as a major hub for innovation and business development in Europe and the world.

According to a 2022 Ernst & Young (EY) survey, France has been the most attractive business destination in Europe for three years in a row, ranking higher than the United Kingdom and Germany on many points.

One area where France stands out is investment, with 1 in 5 investment projects in Europe currently located in France. In 2021, investment in French projects grew by an impressive 24% compared to the previous year. By comparison, growth in the United Kingdom was just 2%, whereas growth in Germany fell by 10%.

Thanks in part to the €100 billion “France 2030” investment plan, which foresees investment in key future-proof industries, 56% of investors in 2021 stated they would like to set up or expand their operations and repatriate their industrial activities to France. The message is loud and clear: foreign investors and business leaders in France are attracted by the opportunities the country has to offer, and they are here to stay.

France also ranks second in Europe for the number of patents filed in 2021 – proof of the country’s innovative spirit. Moreover, as the fourth most dynamic economy in the OECD area, France is a true hub for human capital; home to multiple top 10 business schools and MBA programs worldwide, and with nearly 50% of 25-34-year-olds holding a tertiary degree, there is no shortage of high-skilled talent available in France. High-skilled workers from abroad are also increasingly drawn to France’s excellent work-life balance and public healthcare system.

In short, these numbers speak for themselves: France is a great place to live and to do business.

The key stages of setting up a business in France

If you’ve decided to settle in France, you’ve probably already identified significant business opportunities in the form of potential partners, clients, suppliers, and a favorable scale-up ecosystem.

So, are you ready to make the move and set up shop in France? Then keep in mind the following key stages on your journey:

First, you will need to appoint a director and partners for your company, and decide how corporate profits will be distributed among the stakeholders. Plan sufficient time to draft and sign the articles of association, since all partners need to agree to the essential clauses.

Don’t forget to check whether your company is eligible for regional and/or national grants. You can even start looking for grants before registering the business. If you’re operating in a future-facing industry such as AI, robotics, shipping, biotech — just to name a few — chances are you’re eligible for funding.

Next, you’ll need to register your business as a legal entity. To avoid any legal issues further down the road, be sure to choose a corporate name that hasn’t been already taken by a competitor and that is not protected by trademark law.

Pro tip: before officially establishing your business, you will need to open a corporate bank account and deposit the company’s share capital into a frozen account. This tends to be the most time-consuming step while establishing your business in France, so make sure to plan ahead, as you will need the bank’s deposit certificate before you can proceed to sign the articles of association.

Last but not least, you’ll need to find suitable office space and become familiar with local business networks. Depending on where in France you decide to establish your business, you may be eligible to receive support and guidance from regional public authorities who will connect you to local supply chains, business networks, talent and academic institutions.

Free and tailor-made support to grow your business in France

Our Impact Program is the only program in France dedicated to helping scale-ups boost their business.

Get fast-track access
to business partners & talent!

As a one-stop-shop to boost your growth, we provide continued long-term guidance and support in the following areas:

  • Matchmaking with partners from our business ecosystem
  • Overcoming linguistic, administrative and cultural barriers
  • Establishing your subsidiary (legal support, accounting, etc.)
  • Finding and renting suitable office space
  • Obtaining regional financial support
  • Recruiting top local talent
  • Expanding to international markets

👉 Want to scale your business and grow internationally?
We are your gateway to France. Get in touch !