Setting up a business in France: a practical guide

There are many ways to invest in France to further develop your activities. While business opportunities are endless, all investors have to go through the same process to open a company in France. The following list summarizes the various steps but you can directly contact us to benefit from tailor-made support from French local government. This service is confidential and free of charge.

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Creating a company in France in 7 steps

  1. 1) Defining the project and finding the right location
  2. 2) Securing public and/or private funding
  3. 3) Choosing a company structure
  4. 4) Finding business premises
  5. 5) Opening a bank account
  6. 6) Registering the company
  7. 7) Hiring staff

start a business in France guide

1) Defining the project and finding the right location

Attracting new customers, joining world-class incubators or improving your supply chains are some of the reasons why you can invest in France. To succeed, you need to precisely define your project and locate your company in the best business environment. Our team can help you source relevant information on French regions (volume of customers, talents, infrastructures, etc.) to identify the right ecosystem.

2) Securing public and/or private funding

Before setting up a business in France, you will need to assess the level of investment required for the operation. As a foreign investor, you might be entitled to public funding (grants for investment, recruitment, etc.), interest-free loans or research tax credits for instance. Special support can be provided to innovative startups through the French Tech program.

3) Choosing a company structure

Now, you will need to choose the right company structure for starting your business in France. According to your project and the activities you intend to operate in France, you can select one of these main structures:

  • Subsidiary: this is a wholly-owned French company subject to the French tax system. There are many legal forms such as: SARL, SARL, SA…
  • Branch: it’s an extension of a foreign company in France. A representative of the parent company manages the new office.
  • Liaison office: for all the non-commercial activities such as prospecting, advertising…

Our support team is here to give you all the information and help you select the right structure.

4) Finding business premises

You will need to rent or purchase a commercial property to register a company in France. Virtual offices can constitute a temporary solution as well as co-working spaces but our team can also provide you with more permanent proposals of premises such as warehouses, offices, workshops, etc.

5) Opening a bank account

Once you have selected your premises, you’ll need to open a business bank account. Our team can provide you with a list of bank agents to get in touch with. Then, you will go through your business plan and all the formalities to set up your account.

6) Registering the company in France

The next step is to register your company and get a French company registration number called SIRET. This number will have to be mentioned on all official documents. Our team is here to facilitate this process and provide you with all the needed information.

7) Hiring staff

Finally, now that your business is established, you can start your recruitment process in France and hire the qualified employees for your company. We can provide details and support on the recruitment process and give you insights on French labor law and employee contracts.

For more help and advise on setting up your business in France, please contact us.

By using our investor support service, you will confidentially and within 48 hours, receive comprehensive information on each item needed to set up your project in France.