CORSICA and Bourgogne are France’s top regions for creating new businesses.
The largely rural regions came ahead of the traditional ‘economic engines’ of the Ile-de-France, Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
In 2002, 215,000 businesses were created while in 2008 the number rose to 327,000, according to the Agence pour la création d'entreprises APCE.
The agency has published data on business creation across France’s regions between 2004 and 2008.
At the top of the list, Corsica’s performance – creating 364 new businesses per 10,000 inhabitants – has been boosted by small family operations that change regularly.
The tourism and catering industry and construction are the key sectors with 95% of new businesses employing less than ten people.
Bourgogne is the region in France that has seen the fastest growth in the rate of new businesses created annually between 2004 and 2008 – up 33.7%.
Its performance has been attributed to two key elements; a website J’entreprends en Bourgogne which helps co-ordinate business networks and a business creation programme which assigns a tutor to help start ups through their first five years.
While Picardie has a relatively low creation rate of 134 businesses per 10,000 inhabitants, this has risen by 21.2% between 2004 and 2008.
The effect is said to be down to workers moving out of Paris and the Ile-de-France to take advantage of cheaper living conditions.
The rate of business creation in Haute-Normandie rose 25.4% between 2004 and 2008.
The vice president of the region’s economic council Dominique Gambier told Le Figaro newspaper that, while the rate was above the national average the region was “in a phase of catching up”.
Anyone in the region starting up a business who has been unemployed for more than a year can get a loan of up to €3,900 to help.