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Thinking of starting a business in the beautiful heart of Europe, a region renowned for its growing commercial opportunities as well as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and mouth-watering croissants? If so, you have reached the right place.  Establishing a business in France is a thrilling venture that offers a wealth of options to prosper in a diverse and vibrant economy.

This thorough post offers step-by-step instructions on how to set up your company in France while guiding you through the complicated business pathways of France. We can help you with everything from understanding the registration process to the specifics of tax and social security systems. 

Whether you’re an established business person trying to broaden your horizons or a brand-new entrepreneur eager to test the international waters, this article is designed to give you the knowledge and resources you need to start and operate a profitable company in France.

Basic Requirements for Starting a Business in France

You should be aware that anyone can start a company in France. You don’t have to live in France or be a member of the European Union. By registering a local business address, you can start a company in France even if you live and work outside the European Union. 

Securing Public or Private Funding

Getting governmental and/or private funding is the first stage in starting a company in France. It’s imperative to determine the degree of expenditure needed to create and run your firm before starting any other procedure. This will differ based on the type of business you have, market norms, and your own financial status.

You may be eligible for a variety of funding options if you’re a foreign investor intending to launch a business in France. These could take the form of public money, such as subsidies for hiring, tax credits for research, and grants for investment. These funds, which the government offers to promote innovation and economic progress, may greatly lower your initial expenditure. 

Additionally, there are unique initiatives, like the French Tech initiative, that provide additional support to creative entrepreneurs, frequently in the tech sector. They could help your firm get off to the best start by providing funding, tools, and networking opportunities.

There are alternatives to public support that also involve private investment. This could take the shape of bank business loans, venture capitalist or angel investor investments, or even individual savings. Remember, it’s crucial to consider all your alternatives carefully, and, if necessary, seek professional guidance to ensure you acquire appropriate capital without jeopardising the financial stability of your company. 

This phase is crucial since it lays the groundwork for all subsequent stages of your company’s development. It involves more than just raising capital to launch your company. It also entails intelligent financial planning for the future of your company.

Select Your Business Structure 

The choice of your business structure is the next vital stage in establishing your company in France after receiving your capital. The structure you select will impact the range of activities your organisation can engage in and how independent it can be.

Generally speaking, your decision on a business structure should align with your strategic goals and the unique circumstances of the area you have selected for your operation. Let’s now examine the many business models you can select from:

Liaison Office

This is the parent company’s representative office. Its range is constrained, and it cannot carry out commercial operations. Businesses that want to research the French market before committing to large-scale operations are best served by this arrangement.


A branch manages its own business operations while reporting to the parent firm’s overseas headquarters. It functions as an extension of the parent company. For companies wishing to expand their business operations into France, this choice offers a long-term fix.

EURL (Entreprise Unipersonnelle à Responsabilité Limitée)

This legal form, a limited liability single shareholder company, is perfect for people wishing to launch their own business.

SARL (Société à Responsabilité Limitée)

A SARL is comparable to an LLC. It’s a common option for small to medium-sized firms.

SAS (Société par Actions Simplifiée)

A SAS is appropriate for international investors not wishing to become French residents. 

Keep in mind that every business form has unique advantages, disadvantages, and legal ramifications. It is crucial to take the time to comprehend each option and to think about getting legal counsel to ensure you choose the best structure for your firm.

Choose the By-Laws

The by-laws’ registration is the subsequent step. A lawyer or legalised company formation agent can finish this process. This step necessitates being detailed about your company, like the services or goods that you want to bring to the market.

Trades, industrial or commercial, independent or freelance professional, and agricultural enterprises are the several categories into which businesses in France are divided. All these categories have a registration centre situated wherever you want to establish your operation.  You must have a thorough know-how about your company and its future because any substantial changes necessitate notifying the pertinent registration centres. 

Open a French Business Bank Account

The next step in starting a business in France is to open a business bank account after deciding on your business structure. This is an important step because French law mandates that businesses keep a separate account for their finances from their personal accounts.

You have to first contact a French bank to open a business bank account in France. France’s banking industry is highly competitive, with several banks providing a range of services specifically designed for businesses. These banks will demand a thorough analysis of your company.

Bring your business plan to the meeting, which should contain information on the nature of your company, a revenue estimate, a marketing plan, and a history of the team. The business plan is a crucial document because it helps the bank better understand your operation. The requirement for thoroughness stems from the fact that French bank management is required by law to combat money laundering.

Your business plan will normally be discussed, and any inquiries regarding your company will be addressed during your discussions with bank representatives. You have the opportunity to present evidence of your company’s viability and prospective profitability during this conversation.

Capital Transfers to Your French Bank Account

The French legislation mandates a minimal share capital of €1 for corporate formations such as SARL, SAS, or EURL. In reality, though, banks frequently need a bigger deposit to open the account. Once the account is established, you can use this first deposit, also referred to as “working capital,” for any costs associated with running your firm.

It’s crucial to understand that the share capital placed isn’t frozen. The bank will release the funds after getting your Kbis, the formal document proving your company’s registration, so you can utilise them to conduct your firm.

After submitting the capital, the bank will repay you if you do not wish to incorporate the company for whatever reason. This policy guarantees that your initial capital commitment will be secure even if your goals change.

Publicity for Your New French Company Legally

Once your bank account is established, you must post a notice about the launch of your business in a recognised newspaper. This formal entry into the business sector is required in France.

Incorporation of Your French Company

A full application form, an official copy of each director’s or shareholder’s passport, and relevant utility bills (older than three months) for address verification are all required for incorporation. 

The Centre des Formalités des Entreprises or Chambres des Métiers and the appropriate social security offices (URSSAF, Caisses Sociales, and Inspection du Travail) must be notified if you plan on hiring any workers. Once your paperwork has been submitted to the relevant agencies, your application will be officially stamped, confirming the incorporation of your French company.

Creating a French Business Registration

When you receive your “Extrait Kbis” (certificate of incorporation), you will also receive your firm ID number, a special 14-digit registered number comprising your SIRET and SIREN numbers. Every official document, invoice, and website is required to carry this number. Rea more about starting a business in Italy and France.


What is the minimum capital requirement to start a business in France?

For EURL, SARL, or SAS, the minimum share capital required by French legislation is €1. However, when opening a business account, banks could demand a greater initial deposit.

How do I publicise my brand-new French business?

French law mandates that you post a notice regarding the creation of your firm in a reputable legal journal after opening your bank account.

What is a Kbis?

Your company’s formal registration certificate in France is known as an “Extrait Kbis” or Kbis. It establishes your company’s legitimacy and provides details about it, like its address, management team, and registration number.

Final Thoughts  

In a nutshell, starting a business in France may be made much easier with the correct support, despite the fact that the complex legal and regulatory frameworks may seem overwhelming. By adhering to the specified procedures and criteria, you’re laying the groundwork for a successful business in one of Europe’s most thriving economies.

However, it is always a good idea to think about hiring an expert while exploring uncharted territory. With the experience and knowledge of experts, you may avoid frequent traps and launch your company successfully. 

Smart Company Formations can be helpful for a seamless entry into the French market. We take care of all the requirements for your business, from international accountancy and tax solutions to commerce service options and payroll services. 

Our professionals are skilled at guiding you through the legal and regulatory environment in France to enable a speedy and effective setup. All of our clients receive professional and considerate treatment. We take great satisfaction in our years of experience assisting companies to develop into new markets, which makes us the ideal partner for your company’s expansion to France. 

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