An Expat’s Blueprint for Starting a Business in France.

Eiffel Tower

France is full of romantics, beautiful destinations, and delightful cuisines. It is a cultural paradise for history buffs and tourists. With these things, it is not new that a lot of people wish to work here or plan to stay here for the long term. If you’re one of them, you might have been thinking of how you will be able to build a stable career in the country.

While some thrive in office set-ups, many expats may want to start a small venture. The good news is it is possible to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams here. If you wish to start a small business here and make money so that you will be able to have your RV serviced and travel across Europe soon, here are some of the things you may want to keep in mind:

Where to start?

For foreigners dreaming of starting a business in France, you will need to obtain first a residence permit. An onerous choice is to apply for EU citizenship. But more than that, you will need to have a gauge of how industries and currencies work in the country. These will be much different from what you’re used to in your home country. If you’ve been living in France for years, you may already have an idea. At this point, you will also need to research about the consumers of your targeted industry.

Picking an Industry

Just like in other countries, business ventures come in different categories or industries. There are commercial industries, artisanal industries, and freelance industries. Agricultural and engineering industries are also present. Now, you need to know that each of these industries has Les Centres De Formalites Des Enterprises (CFE) or Business Formalities Centers. These are responsible for simplifying your formalities and giving requirements for the creation and modification of businesses. While you are it, you will also need to think about the legal structure of your business; it could be enterprise individuelle (EI or sole trader) or societe (or a company). Each mode has its own set of requirements.

Considering Places Outside Paris

restaurant with outside dining

If you are living in Paris, the most obvious location for your business would be the city itself. But reconsider things again, especially if you know that you will have a lot of competitors. The city is expensive, and you may lose profit to rent and costs of third-party services. There are other cities outside Paris that are not as expensive as the capital. Consider Marseilles, a stunning port city on the Riviera. Lyon and Nantes are also cities that can accommodate businesspeople.

Preparing the bank paperwork

Being an expat may mean that there are additional layers or steps of paperwork. This is especially true when it comes to bank applications. Expect that it may take months for your application to be approved. And of course, you will need to deposit the legal minimum amount of capital for your business. To navigate certain bank nuances, it’s better to seek the advice of professional accountants and business advisors.

You can do it!

Doing business as an expat in France can be exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. The best way to go about it is to be overprepared and believe that you can do it. Bonne chance!

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