France fosters entrepreneurship

France was ranked third in the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Index, with an entrepreneurial environment that seeks to make life easier for entrepreneurs. In 2016, only 3.5 days were needed to found a company in France, compared with 4.5 in the United Kingdom and 10.5 in Germany. In surveys, more than a third of French people say they would like to start up their own business.


Buoyant enterprise creation

France is ranked second in Europe for business numbers, with 3.8 million enterprises in the non-agricultural market sectors, including 1.1 million micro-entrepreneurs. These businesses employ 12.7 million people (full-time equivalent – FTE) and generate revenues in excess of €3.8 trillion, including €638 billion from exports.

At a time when the French government has put entrepreneurship at the top of its agenda, business creation has never been higher in France. In 2017, more than 594,500 firms were founded, 6.7% more than in 2016, and one of the highest increases in European Union countries.

In 2015, France was ranked second in Europe for net enterprise creation, which was up 2.3%, while Germany saw a decline of 0.8%.

The United Nations also ranks France 10th in the world and sixth in Europe for e-government. (United Nations E-Government Survey, 2016)

French business leaders are unwaveringly optimistic. In November 2017, business confidence, which was already set fair, improved yet further to achieve pre-crisis levels in several broad sectors, including industry and the wholesale/retail trades, where it has been at its highest since 2007, as well as construction, since 2008.

Entrepreneurship in France is on the rise. The results of the latest BNP Paribas-OpinionWay “The French and business” survey show that nearly half of French people (45%), and the younger generation in particular, are attracted by the idea of becoming an entrepreneur in what they see as a more business-friendly environment.

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France: a nation of entrepreneurs

Startup fundraising

French startups raised more than €2.5 billion in 2017, €400 million more than in 2016. Revenues were split between the digital (two-thirds) and life sciences sectors (one-third), as France saw an increase of 16.2% in sums raised and 5.4% in deals from 2016. These excellent results put France in second place in Europe for fundraising, both in terms of the number of deals and the sums raised. In 2017, France accounted for 18% of the sums raised and 15% of all deals recorded in Europe. The United Kingdom was responsible for 40% of the sums raised and 27% of all deals recorded, while in Germany these figures were 12% and 11%, respectively.

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Startup fundraising in France

Competitive business costs

One of France’s key strengths lies in the low business costs it offers foreign companies. According to KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2016 survey, total business operating costs were 9.5% lower in France than in the United States.

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France: a competitive tax system

Entrepreneurship scoreboard