Starting (or Expanding) your Business in France

With its charming cities, picturesque countryside, and rich cultural heritage, France is one of the most alluring destinations in the world. But did you know that it's also a great place to do business?

In this blog article, we'll be debunking the misconceptions about doing business in France and highlighting the many advantages this country has to offer for entrepreneurs and businesses. From access to the European Union to its highly skilled workforce and established business culture, we'll show you why you should consider France for your next venture. We’ll also go through the steps of opening a business in France.

Why is France a great place to start (or expand) a business?

1. Strategic location with a leading position for foreign investments

France is the world’s sixth-largest economy, with a GDP of $2.7 trillion according to the World Bank. France's economy is primarily based on services, which account for around 75% of GDP. The country is a leader in the fields of finance, tourism, and high-tech manufacturing, and it is home to some of the world's largest companies, such as Total, BNP Paribas, and Airbus.

Also, being a member of the European Union, France offers businesses access to a market of over 500 million consumers. Setting up a business in France provides opportunities for expansion and growth within the EU.

France is a leading foreign direct investment (FDI) destination in Europe. France’s strategic geographical location and high-quality transport infrastructure allow businesses easy access to many geographical regions, including Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

2. Stable political environment and modern legal system

The French government has a long-standing commitment to promoting business development and entrepreneurship, and it has implemented a range of policies and initiatives designed to support businesses of all sizes and sectors. These policies include tax incentives, funding programs, and other measures that help businesses to grow and succeed.

The country has a highly developed legal system that provides a strong framework for businesses to operate in with a highly efficient and modern court system that provides businesses with a reliable means of resolving disputes.

3. Skilled workforce

France has a highly educated and skilled workforce, which is essential for businesses to thrive. The country has a long-standing tradition of excellence in engineering, research, and innovation, and this is reflected in the quality of its workforce.

4. Great place to live in

Paris, the capital of France, is a hub for business, culture, and tourism. Being based in Paris provides businesses with access to a diverse and highly skilled workforce, as well as a large pool of potential customers and partners. The city is also home to many major international companies, which can provide opportunities for collaboration and networking.

Paris is not the only business hub in France, for example Lyon, Marseille or Toulouse are also major business centers with their respective specializations and industries.

France is one of the most visited countries globally and is a top destination for business conferences. Thanks to this touristic appeal, businesses that expand to France can expect a constant influx of new potential customers.

How to start business in France?

Here are the main steps for starting your business in France. This is not an exhaustive list and does not constitute legal advice.

1. Choose your legal structure

Here are the 3 most popular structures to setup your business in France:

Société à Responsibilité Limitée (SARL)
The SARL is a limited liability company for 2+ partners. Liability is limited to the capital investment, and no minimum capital is required. The Entreprise unipersonnelle à responsabilité limitée (EURL) is the equivalent of a SARL but for a single person/shareholder.

Société par Actions Simplifiée (SAS)
The SAS is another type of limited liability company that gives associates greater legal freedom when drawing up the articles of association compared to the SARL. The flexibility makes this a favorite choice among start-ups. Société par Actions Simplifiée Unipersonnelle (SASU) is the equivalent of a SARL but for a single person and single shareholder.

A Branch is an extension of a foreign company, which operates in France under the same legal entity as the parent company. A Branch does not have a separate legal entity from its parent company.

2. Register your business

In France, businesses are split into different categories (Commercial or industrial, Trades/artisan, Agricultural, etc.) and each of these categories have their own registration centers.

There are various documents and evidence you’ll need to get together to incorporate your French company. These documents will then need to be sent to various administrations including the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), which will register your company with the national business directory. 

Your documents will also need to go to the tax office - the Centre des Impôts – and the commercial court called the Greffe du Tribunal de Commerce.

Also, if you are not French or a EU citizen, you’ll need a residence permit.

3. Open a business account

You can open a business account with a traditional bank but the requirements and timeline can be discouraging. An alternative is to open a digital account with a neobank in a few hours like: Qonto, Shine, etc.

4. You are now ready to run your business in France

You can now start setting up your operations and grow your business in France!

For your compliance, you will have to hire an accredited accountant - Expert comptable - for the preparation of your annual financial statements and other accounting and tax services. 

You can also hire a finance expert or part-time CFO from Proseso Consulting to set up your internal finance processes and monitor your business performances.

Proseso Consulting - The Finance expert for growing and international businesses

For more information on our Services or if you have any questions on how you can outsource your finance functions, contact me directly at

Proseso Consulting provides business advisory and finances managed services (bookkeeping and accounting, outsourced and automated payroll, tax compliance, financial reporting, etc.). We are here to help you achieve your long-term business goals!

Ninoy Salmon is a seasoned business and finance professional with extensive experience working with both fast-growing startups and companies in the Philippines and around the world.

Get in touch with our team at or visit us at for more information about our services.


This blog article does not constitute professional or legal advice. It is only intended to provide general information on a subject.

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