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New website offers free help to start your own business in France

Market research and an income guide are two ways the online platform can support entrepreneurs

You can find a dedicated adviser to help you through the administrative process Pic: mavo / Shutterstock

A free website has launched for people looking to start their own business, giving details of any established firms in the area doing similar work, an idea of possible income, and hand-holding through the administrative processes.

Run by the Union des Entreprises de Proximité, (U2P), it can be accessed via its homepage or go directly to request information here.

Offers three ways to help

U2P is one of three bodies representing company owners in France, so is a keen player in areas such as industry sector wage scales.

It covers artisans, local shops and professions libérales – a wide category incorporating everyone from lawyers, doctors, dentists and district nurses to freelance translators and writers. 

Read more: Do we need to declare small income from work at second-home to France?

Overall, it claims to represent three million businesses, employing six million people. 

The new website has three sections: 

  1. one to judge your future market 
  2. one with a guide to potential income
  3. a third to put you in touch, for free, with a dedicated adviser

Assesses amount of work available in your area

For the future market, simply enter your sector of activity from a dropdown menu. 

This will eventually list 96 different professions, although the site launched with just 24.

Next, enter the commune where you intend to establish your business and how far (time or distance) you are prepared to travel.

For example, a bricklayer in a rural commune in Charente comes up with strong competition in the village due to the small number of building projects, but less competition within an hour’s drive. 

A map shows how many bricklayers are in each town or village.

Read more: Free training for small business owners in France

Take-home pay scenarios 

The next stage asks users to estimate their annual sales and likely percentage of expenses.

Our hypothetical bricklayer, with estimated sales of €80,000 and 60% expenses, is presented with five different take-home pay scenarios for the year, depending on the statute chosen for his business.

These range from €30,592 if they have travailleur non salarié status with help from the Acre scheme (to get people into work) to €18,286 for someone who takes assimilé salarié status.

The difference in revenues is due to the amount paid in subscriptions for health, pension and social services into various caisses, which translate to higher pensions and better mutual health cover.

Those wishing to contact an adviser will need to input their commune details so someone from the local U2P network can get in touch.

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