How to create a company or work as self-employed

France is well known for a large public sector with heavy and rigid bureaucratic administration. However, in recent years there have been many initiatives to encourage self employment and business creation.

Incentives include simplified legislations, tax breaks, subsidies and grants. For a foreigner creating a business or working as a self-employed person in France can often be easier that getting a work permit to be employed by someone else.

There is a series of new laws aiming to accelerate the development of small and medium-sized companies and self-employers in France. One of the most recent is the Young Innovative Company (YIC) legislation. A YIC is categorised as an SME (Small and Medium-size Enterprise) that spends 15% or more of expenditure on Research & Development and can benefit from:

There is also a national agency (CFE, Centre de Formalités des Entreprises) which assists in the process of creating a company.

Self-employment categories

As a self-employed, you will probably fall within one of the following categories:

Types of company

If you would like to create a company, you have a choice of more then 10 different structures. The most important are the following:

Where to find more information

Comprehensive information on the creation of the business in France is provided by AFE (Agence France Entrepreneur), the state agency for business creation (https:// / ). This includes information about legal structures, tax systems, procedures of company-creations, social security aspects, financial aids and assistance available, and where to get other information. The web site has also large part of its contents available in English, German and Spanish.

Another good source of information and contacts are chambers of commerce and industry, organizations which are particularly active in France. The main website of French CCIs is only in French ( ). Many local regional CCIs have their own websites. A good example is Paris, available in French and English; the site has business creation information and practical advice. © 2003-2021 Just Landed