Guide to Starting a Business in France

1. Introduction

France is not a country renowned as a free entreprise economy, or one with a high level of entrepreneurial spirit.

The government plays an active role in the business sector, and surveys consistently show that most students desire to work in the public sector, rather than to set up their own business.

Government social charges are high and the tax and social insurance system is complex.

So whilst France may be a good place to live for those who are retired, or who have an independent means of income, it is not necessarily an attractive country for younger people who need to work and who want to make money.

Nevertheless, things are changing, albeit very slowly.

The government has woken up to the fact that it needs to provide greater incentives to employment and encourage a more vibrant economy.

Many of the bureaucratic hurdles to setting up a business have either been reduced or eliminated altogether.

There may even sometimes be cost advantages in setting up a business in France.

Despite having a reputation for tough employment laws, there are many employment contracts available that offer a lower of job protection than in the UK.

The level of company taxation for a small business is smaller than that in the UK and there are breaks you can get on social security contributions.

There are many cities and regions of France that are highly successful and provide real opportunities for those seeking to start a regional based business.

And if you do not think France itself offers good business prospects, or you do not speak French, then you can use the internet to run an international business from France.

France will always be France; it is not a free for all, and you have to accept the constraints of living in a more centralised, regulated country.

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