12. Financial Assistance for Starting a Business in France

  1. Introduction
  2. Start-Up Social Security Relief
  3. Regional Development Schemes
  4. Bank Finance
  5. Assistance with Employee Costs

12.2. Start-Up Social Security Relief - ACRE

This is a national scheme operational that offers financial support to those setting up a new business.

The scheme is reserved for those who are unemployed and young persons.

The scheme has the acronym ACRE, which stands for Aide aux Chômeur Créateurs et Repreneurs d'Entreprise.

The nature of the assistance depends on the tax status of the business you have established, whether the regime réel or that of micro-entreprise.

i. Regime Réel

The scheme grants exemption from the following social security contributions for the first 12 months of the business.

  • Health insurance;
  • Sickness;
  • Maternity;
  • Basic retirement;
  • Old age;
  • Disability ;
  • Death;
  • Family allowances.

The exemption is either total, reducing or nil depending on the level of professional income (2024).

  • If the business profit is less than €34,776 the exemption is at the rate of 100%.

  • It is reduced on a sliding scale if the profit is greater than €34,776 and lower than €46,368.

  • Above €46,368 no reduction is granted.

However, the following social security contributions remain due, in all cases:

  • Vocational training;
  • Compulsory supplementary retirement (for artisans and commercants).

There is also a related scheme called 'ARE' (allocation d'aide au retour à l'emploi) which is a benefit accorded to those who lose their job and start a new business. The benefit is paid by the unemployment agency France Travail.

ii. Micro-Entreprise

Those who start a business as a micro-entreprise may be entitled to 50% relief in the first year.

The relief is restricted primarily to the unemployed and young persons.

There are more details in our Guide to Starting a Micro-Entrepreneur Business in France.

iii. Formalities

You will need to make application for relief, which you can do at the time of business registration.

There is also a scheme that offers interest free business loans and is available to the unemployed and others. This scheme is called ‘NACRE’, more of which you can read about in our pages on Getting Business Start-Up Advice in France.

Next: Regional Development Schemes

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