Business setup in France is 'easy'

A Study by accountants Ernst & Young found it was easier to start a business in France than in any other majoreconomy.

8 January 2014

A STUDY by accountants Ernst & Young found it was easier to start a business in France than in any other major

EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013, which analysed information from 1,500 entrepreneurs, stated “contrary
to received wisdom, it is much simpler to set up a business in France compared to elsewhere, in cost, time and administrative tasks”. The cost, in particular, was 10 times lower than average.

What is more, plans for more “e-administration” (ie, online procedures) would simplify matters still more, the study said.

Would-be entrepreneur Liz Jones, who lives in the southwest, said: “I’m delighted to hear it is so simple to set up in France because there’s this idea that the red tape can be a nightmare.”
She added: “I am still in the early stages and haven’t registered the business yet, but so far I have not come across any problems and have found people to be very positive and helpful.”

Mrs Jones’s business,, involves merchandise such as T-shirts and aprons featuring a picture of a “smiley egg” laid by one of her sons’ hens: a double-yolked one that made a “face” (left) when they cracked it into the pan.
She said: “I’ve looked at costings to get them done here or the UK and had samples done, and am looking at adapting them for the French market.
“French companies I’ve approached were very quick to respond and provide samples; very positive and were willing
to look at small quantities when I’m starting out.”

Another reader, Rose Marie Hughes, emailed to say that when her husband set up a small business under the micro-entreprise regime 10 years ago “it couldn’t have been simpler”.

However, Tony Pulford, from the Vendée, said it was “nonsense” that business set-up was easy in France. “I set up as an auto-entrepreneur and was forced to switch within 18 months to another regime,” he said. “Now, after a further nearly 18 months, the authorities have yet to fully acknowledge me.
The bureaucracy is so endemic that even my accountant cannot get answers to such simple questions as how much and when should I start paying social charges. Add in the restrictions that I cannot trade in anything other than services – I am a retail electronics consultant – without becoming a limited company, then I much prefer the British system.”

While the Ernst & Young study praised France for set-up, it placed the country ninth out of 20 overall, itself a great improvement on 20th place two years ago. Areas highlighted for improvement included access to funding (16th) and
business taxation (15th), which the study said was twice as high as average.

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