Expanding a Business in France
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France Entering the Market
They say the world's your oyster. It's also your market. Globalisation is, paradoxically, making the world a smaller place: an international community where borders are fading and restrictions waning.
The transplantability of a business should never be overlooked especially if your domestic market is reaching saturation. Expanding is a bold move, and expanding overseas is perhaps the boldest. It is the ultimate risk. But if you're successful, it is also one of the most rewarding.
Of course, it's no easy decision, and that's why, whether you're considering expanding overseas, or have already made the decision to do so, we have put together the essential guide to getting there.
Why expanding a business in France?
France is ranks as the eighth largest economy in the world, and is part of the world's strongest economic area, the EU. It attracts over 70 million foreign tourists each year, and is ranked as the world's premier tourist destination, ahead of Spain (52.5 million) and the United States (40.4 million).
France also vaunts massive areas of fertile land. Together with contemporary technologies and EU subsidies, these three things have worked in harmony to make France the leading agricultural producer and exporter on the continent.
France offers an entrepreneurial economy for expanding companies: its steely economy and business ethic is testament to its position as a global force.
On top of all that, there's the lifestyle, the oh so continental lifestyle the envy of Europe. The tradition, the rich history, the cuisine.
What's the Attraction for a UK Business?
Well, we're major economic trading partners, for starters. As the UK's third major export partner and its third largest supplier, our relationship with France is long-established and robust. Licensing, incorporating or registering a business in France are all valuable options.
With a highly-trained, educated and skilled workforce, France is never short on labour and talent. Labour costs are also among the lowest in the EU. Likewise, companies interested in starting a business in France may also be surprised to learn that real estate and energy costs are also relatively low.
Dissimilar to other nations, the rules, regulations and financial backing are the same for all businesses, regardless if they are indigenous or foreign. Therefore, a UK company expanding a business in France can easily do so: buy and rent property; acquire indigenous companies; and create individual legal entities.
Residing in the heart of western Europe, France accommodates some of the continent's leading businesses and is the third largest receiver of foreign direct investment. Coupled with a strong business relationship, France is a perfect location for British companies to expand.
Most major and niche markets are represented, particularly for SMEs and expanding businesses. It is a general truth that, almost anything that sells well in the UK will sell well in France providing it backed by quality and a reasonable price. Keep this in mind when setting up a business in France.
The main opportunities for UK business expanding a business in France lie in: Biotechnology; Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare; Software and ICT; Creative, Media and Design; Environment; Aerospace; Automotives; Rail; Chemicals; Food and Drink.
The major industrial locations, that are also the best place to set up a business in France are: Paris, Rhone-Alpes area, and the Nord Pas de Calais. These areas have made a definite transition away from the traditional coal, iron and steel industries to newer technology.
Brittany is a major player in food, whereas Midi-Pyrenees and Aquitaine are particularly conducive to aerospace. The Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur is prominent in the service sector.
Business is a risk wherever you do it. But, in the grand scheme of expanding, starting a business in France is generally considered less so. As with all countries, the fundamental rules apply in order to increase the chances of success: IP protection, understanding markets and protocol, and research, research, research. If you are ever in doubt, consult a legal or business adviser before setting up a business in France.
The one challenge France is notorious for, however, is bureaucracy. Yes, the red tape, the paperwork, the formalities, all compulsory in licensing, incorporating or registering a business in France. Again, if this is something you are either intimidated or unfamiliar with, consult an expert.
Organisations that can assist with Entering the Market
SEDI helps foreign companies setup and do business in France and the UK
Founded in 1873 and with a membership network of over 700 companies and organisations, the Chamber is the principal voice of Franco-British business community in France.
Need to register a company or setting up a company?
Multilingual, experienced certified accountancy firm specialised in the growth management of individual entrepreneurs and international businesses entering the French market. Tax advice, bookkeeping, payroll, legal and audit services
PEO Worldwide is an international PEO offering employer of record, payroll, employee benefits management, HR and compliance services throughout the world.
Do you need advice from an expert in your field, on the ground? Need help finding the best route to market for your product or service?
Multi-lingual Notaries to notarise, translate and legalise documents for international use
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