With Brexit causing a multitude of problems for UK companies wishing to trade in the EU, one way round the issue is opening a country abroad. Even the UK government are suggesting British businesses move operations to neighbouring EU countries to avoid the hold-ups, and one country that is proving very popular in which to set up shop is the Netherlands. Here’s a step-by-step guide to show you how to open a company in the Netherlands quickly and easily.
If you own a UK company and need to trade to the EU, you could be going through some difficulties with the new rules since the Brexit transition ended. Even big companies such as John Lewis and Marks and Spencer are suspending certain services to the EU due to problems with customs and some EU customers have been hit with charges when buying from the UK. So here’s a guide that will tell you everything you need to know about how to go about importing and exporting goods in and out of the UK.
While many businesses have suffered in the past year or so, one sector that has profited is that of software. Software as a service (SaaS) companies such as Zoom and Slack have benefitted from a large contingent of remote workers, and this trend looks set to continue, as many companies embrace the benefits of remote working.
Of all the places to start a software company, France may not be the country that comes to mind. Yet Europe's third biggest economy is becoming a world leader to rival Silicon Valley - and an ideal place to live, work and find the talent and support that any great tech business needs.
It may seem risky to make assumptions after the year we've had, but with the arrival of the vaccines we can hopefully see an end to the coronavirus pandemic. This will mean a return to normality for most of us, at least in terms relative to the previous year. However, it's also likely to produce a sort of backlash, and a desire to catch up for lost time by embracing social and outdoor activities. Moreover, many companies have gone out of business over the course of the pandemic, leaving a hole for new ones to cater to this demand.
This presents a unique opportunity for anyone looking to start a business, as there is likely to be elevated demand for all sorts of products and services. The trick will be identifying which ones people will opt for, and how best you can deliver them - both problems that we're here to help you solve.
Negotiations by the British government for a trade deal with the EU have finally finished, but UK companies that need to trade goods and services with the EU are still worried that their businesses will be adversely affected.
Not only is the fishing industry concerned that their income is likely to be severely impacted but all sorts of businesses – from food producers to clothes retailers to software companies – are bracing for the fallout. However, there is a possible solution for UK businesses who still need to trade with the EU without all the Brexit hassle: opening a company in neighbouring countries such as France and Ireland.
Most business owners with EU links know only too well the upheaval that Brexit will cause their companies. Those who trade with the EU have to make sure their EORI numbers and documents are in order before the transition date ends, and most entrepreneurs are also getting their heads around how VAT registration will change.
The EU has always been a thorn in the side of big tech companies, but the war between the two sides seems to be ramping up. Under the guidance of Margrethe Vestager, the European Competition Commissioner, the EU has undertaken a rapid shift in policy on tech mergers and state aid rules, and dragged the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft through lengthy lawsuits. The coronavirus has not put a damper on this, even as monopolies on supply chains have started to look more attractive.
While the big tech companies will not look favourably on higher taxes and greater accountability, the EU”s actions so far seem to be falling in step with a change in public opinion. There is a general sentiment that tech companies have quickly accrued a great deal of power, and that they need to be better regulated as a result. What Vestager and co argue is that this is necessary - and that companies following the rules will prosper in the long run.
Germany is one of the most popular places for foreign entrepreneurs to open a company. Not only is it a European economic powerhouse, but the efficient, level-headed systems in the country make it a great place to base a business or to set up a branch. Here’s a guide through the company formation stages and the benefits of opening a company in Germany, especially during tough times.
The end of the transition period for the UK in the Brexit process finishes on December 31st and 2021 hails the start of change for both the EU and the UK. In the light of all this uncertainty, many foreign entrepreneurs are now asking: why should I set up in the UK post-Brexit? What are the advantages of setting up and forming a UK limited company now?
Despite the whole Brexit debacle, the British economy is resisting; London still remains the financial hub of Europe and is the European home to almost 60% of companies on the Fortune 500 listing. Additionally, The United Kingdom maintains a fairly strong currency, despite its downward trajectory of late and the country still remains one of the most important consumer markets within the continent.
Slovakia is not the first place that springs to mind when you think of international business but although this country runs under the radar of most other European capitals with their branded business hubs, Slovakia is fast becoming a place where entrepreneurs are drawn to open their trade businesses and industrial companies.
Despite Coronavirus and the fact that turnout was down by over 10%, France’s recent local elections could still mark a seismic shift for France. The two rounds of elections have seen a wave of support for the green party Europe Ecologie Les Verts (EELV) and other eco-candidates, turfing out many mayors from Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche.
Could this be a reflection of the way lockdown has chimed with public sentiment on the climate - and could a new green agenda be good news for cleantech businesses in France?
Local or ‘municipal’ elections in France take place every six years and allow any French residents with EU citizenship to elect local councillors and city mayors. In 2020, this has fallen roughly halfway through the term of President Emmanuel Macron.
While some of his party’s policies have been well received by the business community, he has faced opposition from major unions, and has been embroiled in several scandals - most recently the shutdown of the French football leagues.
If online shopping was doing well before the coronavirus pandemic, it’s certainly thriving now. Online-only businesses like BooHoo have reported massive spikes in profits, with people buying more online even as physical shops reopen. Meanwhile, many people who have been furloughed or lost their jobs are looking for new career opportunities that are viable in a post-corona age.
Enter Etsy. The online craft marketplace has been a major player for some years now, but the pandemic has seen its popularity swell. Numerous home businesses have used Etsy to create everything from protective masks, to homewares, to apparel for those venturing outside. With many people still reluctant to go out shopping, starting an online business using Etsy could be a safe and fulfilling business opportunity.
Few industries have been hit as hard during the coronavirus pandemic as tourism. The total lockdown enacted in many areas and the risk of catching the virus on public transport have decimated flights, and seen many holidays cancelled as a safety precaution. With the lockdown being eased in many countries, however, people are starting to look to the future.
With the summer rapidly approaching and many people longing for a getaway, the tourism industry should be due a massive boom. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic will linger for some time, however, and tourism businesses - and the industry at large - will have to adapt if they are to recover. Here are just a few changes they might need to make to lure people back in numbers and ensure that they can holiday safely.
One of the hardest hit industries during the coronavirus pandemic has been tourism and travel. The absence of flights and strict lockdown criteria have meant that holidays have come to a complete standstill, leaving hotels and rental properties empty, and businesses who are reliant on tourism struggling to make ends meet.
As the lockdown begins to ease across Europe and the rest of the world, it's possible to look forward to a time when tourism can resume, even if it occurs at a reduced rate. For owners and operators of rental properties such as those on Airbnb, this is likely to mean a period of adaptation, and measures to make people feel safe and comfortable while on holiday.
Provide travel arrangements
The lingering effects of coronavirus may naturally cause people to be wary of public transport, while the transport services themselves may also end up running at reduced capacity. This is obviously an issue for tenants who have to travel from an airport or train station. If your property is not within walking distance of a major transport hub, you may have to work harder to convince people to stay there.
While we’re not out of the woods in regards to the coronavirus, it seems that the situation is improving. Several countries which had been badly affected by the virus have begun to ease restrictions slightly, allowing some people to leave their homes for brief periods, and considering how to ease others back into work.
Evidence suggests, however, that there is likely to be some form of social distancing in place until a vaccine is produced, which could be months or even years away. As a result, it’s inevitable that our social and business landscapes will change. Canny entrepreneurs will already be planning for this eventuality - and considering these home business ideas for a self-isolating future.
The French government has put in place various schemes to help small businesses and the self-employed in France that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s a useful list of things you can do to help your business while lockdown is in place.
1. Assistance from Action Sanitaire et Sociale
You can get help from Action Sanitaire et Sociale (ASS), which helps small businesses and freelancers cope during difficult situations.
You can only claim financial help if you are a freelancer or entrepreneur that has run into exceptional difficulty during the Corona crisis and can prove that your business has been severely disrupted.
With all the difficulties being faced by businesses at the moment, it can be hard to look beyond the current crisis. Yet there will come a point in the near future where things return more or less to normal, and business starts to ramp back up. When that time comes, it will pay to be prepared - and to have an action plan that will help you get ahead.
While there can be no certainties about how the coronavirus will progress, there are things you can do to prepare your business for the end of coronavirus, and give yourself the best chance of a speedy recovery. Here are just a few ideas you should consider implementing in order to get back to where you were.
So you’ve decided to switch to remote working - or more likely, the coronavirus has forced your hand. You’re probably familiar with Skype and you can still use email, but that’s no replacement for being able to pop over to someone’s desk and hash something out. SO what can you do to improve the experience, and get the most out of remote working?
Enter these apps. The following are all popular ways to talk, chat, share and stay up-to-date on what everyone else is doing (or should be doing). We’ve done our best to split them into similar groups and lay out the pros and cons - all to help you find the best apps for remote working during the coronavirus pandemic.
The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has already had a major effect on businesses around the world. While many governments have announced measures to ease the burden, most businesses simply cannot go on as normal, and will have to adapt to the change in circumstances.
While this will be a difficult period for everyone, it can also be an opportunity to regroup, reconsolidate and test new ideas. By considering the ways in which you can keep your employees safe and your business active, you’ll find that adapting your business to cope with the coronavirus could leave you stronger in the long run.
If you were hoping to open a business in France before the pandemic struck and are now worried that logistically it all looks unlikely, or if you’ve already opened a French business and you’re worried about how the Coronavirus is going to affect it, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Since President Macron’s election, there’s been a host of reforms in the French business community which means there now exists various solutions on hand to help you continue your plans.
France is a wonderful place to live and work, but it can also be quite particular. The French business world is renowned for being accommodating to workers, but not all of those stereotypes hold true. In reality, conducting business and working in France can be more strict than other places in some regard, and less so in others.
It doesn’t pay to be worried about starting work in a new country, but it also helps to be prepared. If you’re just starting a new job in France or are thinking about relocating, here are some simple tips to help you get to grips with French working culture.
With plenty of turmoil around the world, now generally seems like a good time for a change - but this is especially true of France. A range of factors are coalescing to make France the most attractive destination in Europe, both to live and work. Here are just a few reasons why now may be the ideal time to realise your French business dream.
A dynamic team of young scientists who won the Euro Start Entreprises startup competition back in 2016 are going from strength to strength with their new company and new products to help solve the world’s energy storage problem.
We caught up with the team – Lukas Lutz, Luca Scherrer and Daniel Corte - to find out the latest news on their exciting research and the lessons they’ve learned in the years since Euro Start helped them to open their science startup Sphere, including advice for young scientists on how to boost their chances of success.
If you’ve been reading the news recently, you may have heard about the ongoing strikes in France. While industrial action isn’t unusual, the scale and timing of these strikes is. As well as taking place over Christmas - paralysing the country’s transport infrastructure - they have also involved most of the major unions. The biggest day of protest saw almost a million workers take to the street, grinding some cities to a standstill.
The cause of these strikes is a suite of pension reforms by President Macron’s ruling government. Pitched as a way to cut down on red tape and make the pension system fairer for everyone, critics have suggested that they will ultimately leave thousands worse off. Here’s everything you need to know about the proposed French pension reforms, and what effect they are likely to have as we enter the New Year.
Of the many things France is famous for, none have been exported so successfully as its wine. Both a hallmark of great quality and a cheap evening staple, France is the first place most people associate with this great drink and a mecca for wine-lovers everywhere. For those intrepid souls who want to start their own wine business, France is the only place to be.
Unsurprisingly, starting your own winery in France is not without its challenges. As well as the many intricacies of running a vineyard and nurturing the perfect grapes, you’ll also have to deal with the quirks of French bureaucracy. With a few simple tips however - and some help from the professionals - you can vault these hurdles and realise your dream of owning a French vineyard.
So, you’re thinking of relocating your business to sunnier climes? Perhaps you need a change of pace; perhaps your market is elsewhere and you want to be closer to them; or perhaps it’s just Brexit? Whatever the rationale, you’re considering the feasibility, the benefits and the drawbacks of picking up everything you’ve built, and plonking it down in a brand new patch of turf.
While it’s not as easy as just filling in a couple of forms and shipping everything out, there are plenty of ways to move your business abroad, and plenty of advantages which should outweigh the difficulties. It pays to know what you’re getting yourself into though, and to do a bit of research beforehand. Here are the major reasons you might settle on moving your business abroad, and a few tips if you decide to follow through.
Most entrepreneurs only ever think about starting a business at home, with expanding abroad a pipe dream or afterthought. Yet to truly understand how to sell internationally, you need to step outside of your comfort zone. While you may not know where to start, many countries are actively seeking investment, making the process of moving easier than you might think.
Though there’s still a chance of avoiding it, the UK could be leaving the European Union pretty soon. While many of the repercussions of this can only be speculated about, one aspect that is set in stone is the effect it would have on trade. Businesses who trade with other EU nations will face administrative hurdles, namely the need for an EORI number to continue importing and exporting.
With the deadline looming and many businesses on the backfoot, the UK government has announced that it is auto-enrolling almost 90,000 businesses who had not yet signed up to the scheme. However, this is not the end of the preparation for businesses, nor does it explain what the EORI number is and why you need it. Here’s a little more information on what an EORI number does, and what you need to do before Brexit.
If you want to know how to start a business in France but don't have time to wade through articles and paperwork, take a look at our new video which gives you all the information you need to know to get you started. It's a step by step video guide that gives you the main stages of opening a company in France and all the decisions you'll need to make along the way.
America’s impact on the rest of the world is staggering and its products are unavoidable. From Hollywood movies to music to food, most people from outside the US are far more familiar with America and its social landscape than America is with theirs.
So for US entrepreneurs who want to expand their business to Europe, how can they play catch-up in understanding European business culture?
The cultures in countries such as the UK and Ireland are close to the US due to the language but each European nation has its own distinct business culture which can vary drastically from one another. By understanding the differences between American and European business culture, you can avoid simple misunderstandings that could scupper your best-laid plans to develop your business in Europe.
If you’ve decided to expand your business into Europe, it’s likely that you already have an idea of where you want to move. However, this can often be influenced by preconceptions and misconceptions about the most prestigious place to be rather than the best place for your business. In actual fact, there are numerous factors you should consider before you move.
From funding to taxes to the availability of talent, there are many factors which go into deciding on the best country to start a business in Europe. Here’s an overview of the best countries based on a number of factors, and a breakdown of just what it is that each country does well - and could potentially offer to your expanding business.
You may not realise it, but you’ve probably interacted with foodtech - and it probably didn’t seem very technical. Subscription boxes such as Graze and Naturebox, as well as meal preparation kits like Blue Apron, are all examples of this burgeoning field. This is a world that goes beyond just apps and into the disruption of an industry: from new models of delivery to new means of consumption, and new ways to make and sell food.
As foodtech has become more of a buzzword, however, there have been some suggestions that its opportunities for growth are overblown. The culture around food in many countries is such that disruption seems incredibly difficult, with routines and habits extremely hard to break. While this may be partly true, there are enough examples to show that innovation in the foodtech sector can permeate every country.
While Silicon Valley still steals the headlines, France may be the world’s most interesting startup destination. With a relentless focus on promoting tech startups over the past decade, France has accelerated from a standing start to become a major player on the world stage. The country now sends the second largest delegation to the Consumer Electronics Show (behind the US), and boasts dozens of well-developed startup hubs.
The epicentre of this success is undoubtedly the capital, Paris. Most of the focus in recent months has been on the startup campus Station F, founded by tech entrepreneur Xavier Niel. The converted train station hosts hundreds of small businesses at fair rates, along with a presence by numerous multinationals, including L’Oreal and Microsoft. But if Station F is where many businesses are finding their feet, the next goal is now the 9th Arrondissement - now being dubbed as ‘Silicon IX’.
Think of France, and you probably think of the country’s quality of life. Food, wine, romance, culture...everything points to it being a great place to live. A phrase that probably doesn’t come to mind is ‘business destination’ - and yet France is the 6th biggest country in the world by GDP, one of its top exporters, and a haven for everything from tourism to chemical manufacturing.
What’s perhaps most remarkable is that France has achieved this success without compromising on its traditional values. While America and other western nations make sacrifices for the sake of productivity, France has been successful while also maintaining a healthy work-life balance. With the merits of long hours and short holidays being put under the microscope, now is a perfect time to learn a few lessons from French working culture.
1. Job security
France is notorious for the protections it affords to workers - a reputation that is occasionally seen as an impediment to business. Employees are more difficult to fire than in many other countries, but especially compared to the United States. Many firings go to tribunal and some can be costly to the business involved. As a result, businesses are generally reluctant to remove people; instead they take greater diligence in hiring and look to improve the assets they have.
With the rise in ecommerce entrepreneurs using sites like Amazon to trade in foreign countries, governments have started to clamp down on companies who are dodging paying VAT in different territories. So if you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur, you need to make sure you’re not breaking the law when you import or export your goods across the globe. To help you, we consulted our resident expert in all things VAT, chartered accountant Jacky Ling from the accounting firm 451F in Paris, to get the answers to all the frequently asked questions on how to set up a VAT number in a foreign country for ecommerce entrepreneurs.
For some business owners, the idea of being glued to one location is what puts them off retail altogether. You worry that you’ll get tired of the town or city you’re in, or you simply have itchy feet in general, and want to apply your creativity to a business that affords you the ability to travel. If you also love to cook, well, we’ve found the perfect business for you: street food.
Street food vendors are an increasingly popular presence on the streets of London, and for good reason. These businesses have a lower barrier to entry than bricks and mortar restaurants, and are often capable of serving up equivalent or greater quality food. With a little determination and invention - and the tips below - you can deliver your home cooking to the masses, without being tied down to one location and one hefty contract.
One of the great benefits of the internet has always been its ability to inform. Whether through Wikipedia or YouTube, the tools exist for people to seek self-improvement at a moment’s notice, learning everything from historical facts to foreign languages. Nowhere is this better encapsulated than the booming online education market, which provides both formal and informal courses on a myriad of different topics.
With the industry already worth more than $255 billion, this isn’t so much a new frontier as a mature and successful industry. There are plenty of opportunities for new entrants however, with new areas of expertise and greater claims to success. Here’s a brief guide to the online education market, and how you can start your own online education business.
Of all the forms of tech startup, web design is perhaps the easiest to get into, and the most sought after by other businesses. It’s a business that can be conducted entirely online, with limited startup costs and substantial crossover with both creative and technical fields. This is not to say it’s easy - no new business is - but for many people, starting a web design business is the perfect change of career.
With the ability to start producing websites from your bedroom, you might not have thought about the possibility of starting a web design business in France, or another far-flung location. Yet when it comes to scaling your business up from those humble origins - or starting at a slightly higher level - France offers the perfect environment for talent, incentives and further opportunities. Here are just a few tips on how to make the leap to La French Tech.
A professionally designed website is one of the most powerful tools in an online business’ arsenal. Great web design is expensive, however, and great web designers can be hard to find. It’s not unheard of to invest thousands in multiple websites from different providers, and find none capable of executing your vision.
For most new businesses, a website builder is the most economical and effective compromise. Yet with so many website builders now on the market - and so much technical jargon - it can be hard to know which one to go with. Here are a few tips on comparing the big website builders - such as Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix and Weebly - and how to choose a website builder that suits your new business, and provides the form and functionality you’re looking for.
Of the many businesses that comprise the ‘sharing economy’, Airbnb is perhaps the biggest success story. The third largest private company in the world now boasts more than 600,000 properties in 192 countries around the world, and has transformed thousands of homeowners into letters and tour guides - as well as putting no end of pressure on the hotel industry.
The road to success has featured a few bumps, however, and several of them have been in Paris - both the world’s most visited city and Airbnb’s most popular market. A raft of laws has sought to limit the number of rentals in the city, and make it more difficult for people to let in the long-term. But you can still rent out your Parisian property on Airbnb; you just have to be more careful about it. Here then is our guide to legally renting your property in Paris on Airbnb.
Lebanon isn’t the first place you’d think of to open a company. The images of the war-torn capital Beirut after years of civil war which ended in 1990 would probably be the only things that come to mind when you mention Lebanon. But since that time, the country has worked hard to establish itself within the business community by offering entrepreneurs excellent tax benefits.
The corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the world (currently at 17%, the tax rate in 2019 is forecast to go even lower to only 15%) and the free market policy, together with a favourable environment for the private sector and its location means the country is an interesting prospect for entrepreneurs who want to expand into Middle Eastern and African markets.
French president Emmanuel Macron recently invited 40 venture capitalists from the world of tech to find out why France is competing with the US tech giant Silicon Valley to become a hot-spot location for tech startups.
The VCs and partners attended the two-day event at Station F – the world’s biggest startup incubator – as well as at the president’s official residence the Elysée Palace.
The VCs were there to find out how the French system for startups had changed over the years, especially since the election of Macron who is trying to make changes to the French system, despite the protests against him by the "gilets jaunes" - a political movement for economic justice that have been making their presence felt in the form of protests and demonstrations, dressed in their titular yellow vests.
But if Macron manages to make some of his reforms, then France has a chance of squaring up to the tech giants in the US. As the tech industry in America becomes ever bigger, there is more pressure on smaller tech companies to find talent from further afield in order to compete with the big tech giants. That’s where France hopes to fill that gap.
Brexit is a conversation most people would rather avoid at this point, but it’s a painful reality for most businesses. After more than two years of negotiations and just a few months away from the withdrawal date, it’s still unclear what the nature of Brexit will be, and exactly what impact it will have on businesses across the UK and the wider world.
While larger businesses and corporations have already planned for the multiple eventualities, not all of us have that luxury. As such, it falls to us to delve into the arrangements that have been made so far, and what we know about the likely impact of the various Brexit scenarios. Here’s our basic guide to where we stand going into 2019, and what you can do to prepare for the effects of Brexit.
Starting a new business is exciting, but it can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the process - and particularly if it’s in a new country. While The Emerald Isle is a friendly place for businesses, that doesn’t mean you can waltz through the formation process. Here are the 8 steps you’ll need to take in order to start a business in Ireland.
In terms of business in Asia, Singapore is often overshadowed by the more dominating presence of China, but this relatively small country actually ranks way higher for international entrepreneurs who want to stake their claim in the Asian markets. So, if you want to find out how to start a business in Singapore and what the advantages are of opening a company in the country, then just take a look at our guide below.
“Austerity is over.” That’s the line from the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, who has just delivered the country’s last budget before Brexit. With cuts continuing in many areas, the reality is somewhat different - but we do have a few tax breaks to contend with.
This budget may less interesting to businesses than the effect Brexit will have, with so much still to be decided. But amidst a mixed slate of news, there are some positives for the business community. Here’s what your small business needs to know about the latest UK budget and how things are shaping up in the run up to Brexit.
France was once seen as a country that was anti-entrepreneur. But with the election of Emmanuelle Macron who is furiously trying to put France back on the business map with new labour laws that favour the employer and tax cuts that ease the burden on business owners, France is now becoming a country where startups and entrepreneurs abound.
And with Brexit looming - putting the UK in a difficult position for business negotiations – and with the US getting tough with trade tariffs, France is being viewed as the next best option for traders and importers who want to stay the right side of the EU. In fact, many entrepreneurs who had originally left France for better business environments are now asking to come back to France. But how can they do that without getting buried in bureaucratic paperwork?
Consumer culture in France is perhaps better developed - and preserved - than anywhere else in the world. The historical home of high fashion is also a haven for physical retail businesses, with locals still flocking to bakeries, butchers and all manner of outposts for fresh produce and local goods. The downside to this is that eCommerce has been slow to develop - but it is growing at a positive rate.
With the new French President now shaking up the business landscape - and Brexit on the horizon for UK businesses - this could be the perfect time to expand your online enterprise to France. With some old quirks and new trends, though, you’d best be prepared first. Here then are our four simple tips to making the most of a new French eCommerce enterprise.
If you have a long commute or a lot of housework to rattle through, the chances are that you’re already a fan of podcasts. If not, you soon will be, as almost a quarter of Americans surveyed last year had listened to a podcast within the last month. This isn’t just a large audience, but a highly engaged one: listeners make it through 90% of a podcast episode on average, and the overwhelming majority don’t even skip the adverts.
Podcasts are all the rage, and more people than ever are being tempted into starting their own. If you have a niche interest or something interesting to share with the world, you could find that podcasting is a lucrative business. Yet while you can podcast with little more than a microphone and a laptop, putting on a great show requires a little more thought and preparation. Here then are the things you absolutely need to know if you want to start a podcasting business.
There are all sorts of reasons to live in France, but it’s typically been ignored as a business destination by many outsiders. Stereotypes of an unfriendly business climate, a low rate of English literacy and a laid-back working culture have stuck in the popular imagination, even as these issues have been relentlessly disproven.
In 2018 however, there can be no argument that France has turned a corner. From the business policies of President Macron to the incredible success of tech businesses, France is now as incredible a place to work and start a successful enterprise as it is to live a great life. Here are just a few reasons to convince you into starting a business in France.
France is known for many things: romance, revolution, the Eiffel Tower. The cultural contribution that stands above all others, however, is fantastic food. Mealtimes have an almost holy resonance in France, with delicious and complex home cooking taking precedence over ready meals and fast food takeaways, even in workplace canteens.
With standards like that, starting a food business in France may seem counterintuitive. If you have aspirations of being the best, though, there’s no better place to challenge yourself - and there are myriad other reasons to move there too. Here are just five points to get your juices flowing, and sell you on the prospect of a French food business.
In a competitive field, Berlin is making a strong claim to be the world’s premier city. The German capital can lay claim to reasonable rent, an English speaking population, thriving local businesses, great food and nightlife, and a burgeoning startup scene. It’s not just an attractive place to live - it’s an attractive place to start a business and sell your vision to the world.
With instability affecting more traditional markets like the UK and US, Germany is an increasingly palatable option for a startup or expanding business - and nowhere more so than its crown jewel, Berlin. Here is a brief rundown of the process behind starting a business in Berlin, and a few things you might want to consider about your German startup project.
In spite of Brexit, the UK is still a place of enormous opportunity. As one of the top five economies in the world and one of its largest and most developed consumer markets, the UK is a prestigious location for businesses. It’s also a favoured destination for Indian businesses, and not without good reason. Indian nationals were among the first immigrants to the UK, and today are the UK’s most successful minority group in both education and entrepreneurship.
To encourage competition, the UK government has made a point in recent years of appealing to international businesses and investors in startups. As such, Indian nationals are free to open and operate a company in the UK - but the specifics may vary, depending on the company structure and industry you choose. Read on for our beginner’s guide to starting a business in the UK as an Indian company and taking that first step on the path to success.
Retail outlets in the United States have been given a significant boost, as the country’s Supreme Court rules against online retailers in a major tax court case. In a 5-4 decision against major online storefronts Newegg, Wayfair and Overstock.com, the Supreme Court ruled that individual states may force online retailers to collect sales tax in their local jurisdiction.
Until now, many online retailers were able to base themselves in low or zero tax states and could claim that the point of sale was in that location, rather than the location of their customers. The new ruling puts them on a level playing field with retailers, who have always had to collect tax based on the location of their outlets.
Having the small but impactful word ‘Paris’ attached to your brand or business can do wonders for your marketing strategy. But it’s not just fashion designers who desire the mark of France’s capital city on their labels and business cards. Foreign investors from all over the world - especially traders in the European export/import industry - frequently come to Paris to open a branch in France in order to stamp their presence on the French market.
Establishing a branch in a foreign country is a relatively easy process. As it’s an extension of an existing (parent) company it has no separate legal identity and reports directly to its parent company and as such the parent company is financially responsible.
From secret military projects to Christmas stocking fillers, the arrival of drones over the past decade has been revolutionary. Now a new study suggests that both the creation and wider deployment of drones could have a similar effect on UK businesses, boosting the economy by as much as £42 billion in just 12 years.
The report by accountancy firm PwC predicts that 76,000 UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) will have taken to the skies by 2030. Companies could save £16bn annually through efficiency savings, boosting the UK economy by 2% of its present value.
Drones would potentially replace many service positions, including safety, monitoring and inspection roles in numerous industries. Structures and locales such as oil rigs, factories and farmland could be inspected and analysed far more quickly, cheaply and safely than by helicopter or manual inspection.
Emmanuel Macron has been hard to keep out of the headlines - and he probably wouldn’t want it any other way. The media-savvy French President has risked ire at home by courting President Trump on recent state visits, but this has been a calculated gamble. His grandstanding is designed to further France’s position, and put himself at the forefront of international politics.
Behind all the bluster and hand-holding, however, a quiet revolution is under way. While elements of the French public may be dissatisfied with his sweeping reforms, Macron is making changes that most observers say are long overdue. The result has been an already noticeable improvement in France’s business environment, and a shot at becoming the continent’s dominant economy.
Cannabis. Marijuana. Pot. Call it what you want - in America it’s now big business. A sudden influx of tax dollars has quelled some concerns about the effects of the drug, and fast-tracked its legalisation. Yet despite this explosion of business interest, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, and has faced a crackdown from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The contrast in federal and state laws is unlikely to last, and even Republican-leaning states are trending towards legalisation. Yet the pall of smoke over the legal pot business is putting off some investors, who fear it may yet be criminalised by the current administration. So what is the state of the U.S. cannabis business, and is it really safe for investors to get involved?
The path to legalisation
Cannabis has been a Schedule I controlled substance since the inception of the list in 1970. Schedule I substances are the only drugs not allowed to be prescribed by physicians in the US and are deemed to have no medical value. This classification has been disputed almost ever since, with a national commission recommending its reclassification in 1972 (to no effect).
Setting up a business in a different country is a big step and one of the first hurdles you need to jump is choosing the correct business structure. In France there are various different structures available from SARLs to SAs to EURLs and for the sole traders you can choose to set up a Micro-Entreprise as an Auto-Entrepreneur. But picking which one is right for you and your business is crucial. So here’s an easy-to-read guide that won’t have you scratching your head and reaching for your accountant on speed-dial.
There’s always been a slightly tricky relationship between the French and Americans. Despite being allies in the world wars and never having taken up arms against each other in their military history, the French nevertheless like to maintain an independence of thought which doesn’t always sit well with their American friends. (Anyone remember the Americans renaming ‘French fries’ as ‘Freedom fries’ in a fit of pique after France’s opposition to America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003?)
So it comes as some surprise to discover that there are now thousands of French people who are now either living or investing in real estate in the southern state of Florida. At present there’s more than 30,000 French people residing or owning property in the ‘Sunshine State’ and it looks like that number is set to climb. We talked to French-born entrepreneur and US resident Jacques Luben from Inc. Plan USA about the reasons the French are flocking to Florida.
Why have celebrities such as Madonna moved to Portugal? Well, there’s been a quiet revolution happening in Portugal over the last few years, especially in its capital Lisbon. Young people, celebrities and businesses have flocked to the sunny Iberian coast, creating a surge of new and innovative businesses within the ancient city walls. But what’s driving this influx, and would a move to Portugal be worth your while?
Tourism tends to draw businesses, and Portugal is definitely drawing tourists. Lisbon is the 7th most visited city in Southern Europe - visitor numbers grew by 3.9% in 2016, while revenue was up by 10.7%. Hotel guest numbers rose by 10.3%, with the UK contributing the largest proportion of foreign visitors at 22.9%, up from 20.3% the previous year.
The profile of Lisbon in particular has grown, with numerous media profiles of the city as a not-so-hidden gem. Lisbon was named the Ibero-American Capital of Culture for 2017, and was deemed “Europe’s best summer city break” by the Independent newspaper. It’s been particularly heralded for the quality of its restaurants, easy navigation, and the depth of its history and culture.
This hasn’t just attracted temporary tourists, but more long-term ones, too. Lisbon has become something of a student mecca, with two universities ranking in Times Higher Education’s annual survey of the world’s finest institutions. Portugal has nine universities on the list in total, including locations in Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra and Minho.
This presents an obvious opportunity for businesses. With endless summers, a long stretch of coastline and every kind of terrain, Portugal is a goldmine for almost any tourist focused business. While the country is becoming more popular, unemployment has also remained stubbornly high, making it a perfect market in which to employ skilled workers.
When we started out as a tiny startup in a dingy back office in Paris, we had no idea about Search Engine Optimisation. We knew that by setting ourselves up as company formation experts specialising in helping international entrepreneurs set up their business in France, we needed to reach as many people in as many countries as we could, but we had no real idea how to do it.
We started off like most newbies by creating a website, trying to put out quality information to help the types of entrepreneurs we wanted to attract. But what we didn’t realise was there was a whole series of complicated and subtle machinations we had to adhere to in order for search engines to recognise our company and let us creep up their rankings.
In the early days we attempted to do this ourselves by clicking on every SEO blog out there and trying to cherry-pick tips about keywords and algorithms. We set up our own business blog, used social media management platforms to put out consistently good content, created a mailing list and sent out regular newsletters. But despite spending hundreds of business hours on SEO we didn’t find ourselves ranking anywhere on any of the search engines. Quite frankly, we felt overwhelmed with the enormity of SEO.
If you’re opening a business in or expanding to the European Union, you may not be aware of your obligations when it comes to value added tax (VAT). Because of the open trade between EU countries, the obligation to pay this goods tax often falls on the exporter, as opposed to customs. Changes to the rules on digital services within the past few years have complicated matter somewhat - and a new set of rules on cross-border trade is on the way.
The new rules and guidelines are designed to favour EU businesses by altering thresholds, as well as clamping down on non-EU businesses avoiding tax. To get to grips with the current and upcoming legislation, here’s a brief guide to your obligations from 2018 onwards as an EU seller, and the best ways to pay tax on cross-border and global transactions.
Current cross-border VAT rules
At present, EU businesses selling to other EU businesses do not need to worry about VAT - so long as the other business has a valid VAT number. The business receiving the goods must account for the VAT as if it was selling them, at the rate of VAT local to that business.
Paris has always been a popular city for real estate. The image of geranium laden balconies and dinky apartments accessed by twisting wooden stairs has often been a romantic ideal for a large number of tourists and expats.
But with Paris becoming the host for the Olympics in 2024, prices in both the rental and sales market are likely to see a considerable rise in the next few years. There has already been a boost to the city’s short-term rentals, despite the games being a good six years away, with prices being hiked up to almost 20 times the going rate for people booking ahead of time.
There will also be chances for Paris homeowners to make a killing when it comes to selling their homes as long as they don’t leave it to the last minute. With Paris prices experiencing unprecedented growth in 2017 – with all arrondissements experiencing a rise in prices to reach an average of around €8,500, per m2 – there will be a lot of landlords and homeowners who are rubbing their hands at the prospect of making some very large profits indeed.
The Emerald Isle is internationally renowned for a number of things: beautiful countryside, wonderful people, and plentiful beer. What’s perhaps less well known - or at least less well appreciated - is the country’s strength as a business destination. When it comes to attracting and supporting innovative, productive businesses, Ireland really is the jewel in Europe’s crown.
Until recently, the UK was considered a prime destination for many businesses looking to gain a foothold in the European market. But Brexit has thrown these plans into uncertain waters, and made many firms currently in the UK reconsider their position. If you’re looking to relocate or expand to the EU, here are a few reasons why setting up a company in Ireland should be the obvious choice.
Emmanuel Macron has presented the Chinese Premier Xi Jinping (pictured) with an elite French cavalry horse - the latest sign of a shift in allegiances for the world’s most populous nation.
The eight-year-old stallion, named Vesuvius, was presented to the Chinese Premier at the start of a three-day visit to China. Macron is the first world leader to visit the country since Xi consolidated his power at the Communist Party conference in October.
One official described the gift as a “symbol of French excellence”. Elsewhere, a French expert from the China Development Research Centre said that the gift was likely a reference to the popular Chinese legend of the ‘thousand mile horse’, symbolising France’s desire for a long and prosperous relationship.
Macron further endeared himself to China by praising China’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement, and making a subtle jab at Donald Trump. The French President grappled with the Chinese for ‘Make the planet great again’ on national television, winning plaudits on social media.
From January 1st, the French government are ringing in the new year with some changes to business – so how will it affect you and your French business in 2018? Below is a quick-look guide to what’s happening with taxes, credit rates and pension funds.
Decrease in the corporate income tax rate & CICE tax credit rate
The great news is that the business-friendly president Emmanuel Macron has decided to help the French business owner by decreasing the corporate tax rate. So from 2018, the French corporation tax rate goes from 33.3% down to 28%. All companies will benefit from this corporate tax rate (IS) of 28% on profits below 500,000 euros.
Related article: What happens during a French company audit?
Also, the rate of the tax credit for competitiveness and employment (CICE) decreases from 7% to 6% from 1st January 2018. This reduction applies to wages paid during the year 2018. In 2019, the CICE will be replaced by a decrease in social charges.
As Brexit negotiations continue their rocky progress, the picture is still uncertain for UK businesses, as well as those looking to move to Europe. Concerns about tariffs and other barriers to trade have yet to be settled, jeopardising the UK’s status as a launching pad for businesses in Europe.
The UK’s loss however may be Ireland’s gain. Its neighbouring nation has many of the same advantages as the UK when it comes to business - and a few key differences. Here are the things you need to know about conducting business in Ireland versus the UK.
Dubai has opened a new free-trade zone specifically for e-Commerce businesses, in the United Arab Emirates’ latest effort to modernise and diversify its business interests.The Dubai CommerCity trade zone will be located in the Umm Ramool district, just south of Dubai International Airport. Investment in the project is expected to total Dh2.7 billion, or around 623 million euros.
Encompassing 2.1 million sq ft of land, the site will be split into three clusters: a business area for offices, a logistics area for services providers and customers, and a social area with amenities for visitors and employees including a range of galleries, cafes and restaurants.
Although Cyprus is a tiny island, it’s now becoming a giant for business due to its extremely tax-friendly environment. With the UK exiting the European Union, many entrepreneurs are now looking to other EU member states to set up their companies and Cyprus has quickly become the go-to country for international business people.
The attractive tax regime, the country’s solid legal and regulatory framework, together with a highly skilled workforce and a prime location - just below Turkey and east of the Greek island of Crete, with excellent sea trading routes to mainland Europe – are just some of the reasons Cyprus company formation is currently experiencing a boost.
What are the tax benefits in Cyprus?
Tax resident companies in Cyprus are able to benefit from the extremely low corporation tax rate of 12.5% and there is 0% tax on dividends received and 0% withholding tax on dividend payments. There is also an exemption from tax on profits from the sale of securities and no capital gains tax is paid on the transfer of property owned by a Cyprus company abroad. Any tax losses you make can be carried forward and are off-set against the profits you make over the next five years. There are also a considerable number of double taxation treaties with various countries which can help if you trade regularly with other EU countries.
France and Germany are continuing a heated battle over the relocation of banks from London, as Brexit talks continue to throw uncertainty on the country’s financial sector.
As a more established European financial centre, Frankfurt currently holds a slim lead when it comes to statements and guarantees of intent from banks looking to relocate.
However, the election of former banker Emmanuel Macron as French President has upended expectations of German financial dominance. Macron and his finance ministers have already announced a suite of reforms for the French financial sector.
Macron’s key objective is to lower the rate of corporation tax steadily through his term in office, from the current 33% to 25%. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has also announced plans to end the country’s tax on financial transactions starting in 2018.
Angela Merkel looks set to form a coalition government just days after ruling it out, in the latest surprise move since her narrow election win in September.
Merkel won 33% of the vote as part of her CDU/CSU party, while former allies the SPD received only 20%. However, the plurality of parties in Germany meant this was still not enough for the CDU to form a majority government.
Merkel and SPD leader Martin Schulz are now due to meet this week for informal talks, with a view to forming a government in January. Much is likely to ride on the consensus from the SPD’s annual conference, which begins on December 4th.
The CDU and SPD had previously shared power in a grand coalition, only the third such arrangement since World War 2. But the emergence of far-right populist party Alternative For Germany (AfD) - becoming the country’s third largest party with nearly 13% of the vote - ate into the CDU and SPD’s share.
For the Conservative Party, it was enough that 2017’s Budget announcement passed without much incident. There was a smattering of jokes, and scattered bits of good news: more money for the NHS, house building and Brexit planning, and a suite of protections for businesses.
A couple of days beforehand, however, David Davis seemed to be fighting for Britain’s future. Speaking at a United Bank of Switzerland (UBS) sponsored conference for banks, he must have been aware that UBS plans to relocate its staff to Paris after Brexit. And the consensus from EU negotiators (and some of the UK’s own Non-Profit Organisations) has been damning: the UK isn’t being clear enough about its future.
So with the UK’s economic plans laid out for a year and Brexit negotiations in full swing, where does the UK stand? As always, it’s more a case of sitting on the fence. The signs for some industries are not positive, as much due to continued uncertainty as tangible issues. For others, however, the economic reforms and safeguards are likely to mean business rolls on unabated.
For the experienced individual looking to start a new life in France, life coaching can be an ideal opportunity. Like any other skill, life coaching takes genuine passion, determination and individual ability to turn it into a profitable venture. But unlike other businesses, you have the potential to change people’s lives, all while making a respectable living.
As a favoured destination for travellers, dreamers and expats, France is a perfect location to motivate people and propel them to success. As with other types of business, however, becoming a successful life coach in France can be a peculiar process. Here are some of the key factors you’ll need to consider when setting up a life coaching business in France.
Life coaching qualifications
Starting a life coaching business is often recommended because there are few overheads, with the potential for a fast path to success. This is true in certain circumstances, but the reality is that you will be competing against numerous other expats who have all had the same idea, and have battled to distinguish themselves in the market.
The best way to stand out among this crowd is to ensure you’re properly qualified. There are very few regulations on life coaches compared to other forms of guidance or therapy. However, this is not to say that you can or should attempt to get away with coaching with no experience.
French President Emmanuel Macron has faced fresh strikes over his controversial public sector reforms, but has resolved not to back down in the fight for French business.
Workers across France’s public sector, which employs a fifth of the French population, are unhappy about reforms he had touted during his election campaign. The former investment banker is accused of forsaking ordinary French people in favour of rich business interests.
All nine of France’s main unions united for the strike action, the first time this has happened in a decade. However, only 209,000 of the eligible 5.4 million union members participated in the latest countrywide strike, the fourth such demonstration since Macron took office.
Nevertheless, the outpouring has been strong enough that Macron opted to appear in a TV broadcast to the nation, defending his policies. Macron dismissed the criticism that he is a ‘President of the rich’, instead pointing to the reforms as a key tenet of his electoral platform.
Who would have believed it? The country whose favourite phrases begin with “Mais le problème est...” or “C’est compliqué” has managed to open the biggest startup campus in the world. And not only that, after only a few months of opening its doors, Station F in Paris appears to be roaring success.
France, despite being the originator of the word ‘entrepreneur’ (contrary to George Bush Jr’s claim), previously had a reputation amongst international entrepreneurs as being a bit of a tricky customer when it came to trying to set up a company or launch anything that didn’t fit into any of its business pigeon holes. Business people with fresh, untried ideas often found themselves in a Kafkaesque nightmare of being passed from one tax office to another while the bureaucrats figured out how to squeeze them into a traditional role just to tick the correct boxes on the paperwork. (See our story of how one US entrepreneur went through the mill trying to get his original business idea off the ground in France.)
But the last few years has seen a significant change in the country’s outlook towards innovative startups and the tech industry in particular. Suddenly groups of tech experts and bustling startup hubs began to pop up all over Paris, bringing with it changes (albeit slow and convoluted) in the government’s business system. Riding on the back of the capital’s new-found status as Europe’s go-to city for startups, the French entrepreneur Xavier Niel decided to back a plan for an ambitious 34,000 square metre campus in the old Halle Freyssinet building in the 13th district of Paris to cater for this new generation of business minds.
Angela Merkel may have just secured a fourth term as Germany’s Chancellor, albeit under heavy opposition, but as she looks to form a coalition government, what will this mean for business in Germany and Europe?
Merkel's party - the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party - secured 33% of the vote, a slightly lower margin than anticipated. Their main rivals, the Socialist Party (SPD), followed up their disappointing TV debate with a postwar low of 20.5%.
Having ruled alongside the CDU for two previous terms, the SPD has opted against another coalition, and will form the official opposition. Critics had observed that the SPD’s alliance with Merkel’s party led to them becoming indistinguishable on key policy issues.
The big news from election day, however, is the performance of Alternative for Germany (AfD). The right-wing anti-establishment party took 12.6% of the vote, and will be the first ‘far right’ party to send delegates to the Bundestag.
While French President Emmanuel Macron swept to power on a surge of populist sentiment, there was always the chance that things would go sour quickly. His winning margin was at least partly due to widespread dislike of his final round opponent, Marine Le Pen.
Many people on the traditional right and left wing of French politics were uneasy at his sudden rise, with a trajectory taking him from Presidential advisor to President in little more than three years. A couple of months after taking office, this dissent has formed into a more coherent opposition. As yet, however, it has not stopped Macron from continuing with his political plans.
Prior to his election, the biggest point of contention was his plan to shake up the labour market, eliminating protections that had become emblematic of France’s work-life balance. With France suffering from one of the highest rates of youth unemployment and lowest GDP growth rates in the EU, Macron feels that a seismic - and potentially painful - shift is necessary.
We’ve been in business for 10 years now and during that time we’ve managed to keep our heads above water during a monster worldwide recession, a knock-on economic dip in France that seemed to be never-ending, an EU referendum, and a rocky political climate. But despite those difficulties, our company Euro Start Entreprises just kept trucking through it all and thankfully thrived. It’s been a battle at times, and there were some points when we wanted to not only throw in the towel but wanted to shred it and burn it too. However, something within us said success was around the next corner, just as long as we didn’t give up. And here’s how we did it…
As international business consultants, we started off in very humble beginnings - sharing a small office with an online music distributor Paris Jazz Corner who sold obscure jazz records out of a pokey place in Rue de Nancy in the 10th district in Paris. In those days, it wasn’t the gentrified ‘Bo-Bo’ (French for bohemian) neighbourhood it is today. Amongst towers of CDs and stacks of vinyl, we forged a little niche for ourselves offering to help foreign entrepreneurs expand their enterprises into France, helping them with the tricky obstacles of language barriers and registering a company with the fussy French tax offices.
Having owned a few companies before, we were used to battling the system – after all, France holds the crown for Most Pernickety Bureaucratic European Country (which new president Emmanuel Macron is desperately trying to shrug off). Setting ourselves up as company formation experts we had to learn how to navigate that system as smoothly as possible for our foreign entrepreneur clients who wanted to set up businesses in France complete with offices and bank accounts and chartered accountants and all the lovely accoutrements that go with owning a new company in a new country.
So you want to start a film production company. You’ll have to move to America, right? Wrong! While Hollywood still dominates the global box office, Europe has a strong claim to be cinema’s second home. It’s where the medium was developed, and where many of the most experimental and interesting filmmakers have resided.
Currently the EU and European countries are making a real push to break America’s stranglehold. A number of funds are driving innovation and helping young filmmakers, while also promoting European culture and heritage. Among those countries, France is fast becoming the best place to start a film production company.
Nail Down Your Niche
Video is playing a much greater role online, and businesses are recognising the need to drive engagement with unique content.Lower level video production for SMEs and large enterprises is becoming more common, as are projects for individuals. Meanwhile online content creators are getting richer, outsourcing content production and editing to professionals by turning to single production companies. These companies film their events or adverts and keep their work on archivefor access and reuse in future years. Meanwhile developments such as Facebook’s custom videos generated with catalogued data show the future of this kind of personalised video production for independent consumption.
After the recent destabilising UK General Election, the Conservative government’s Brexit negotiator David Davies had to enter talks with the EU on the back foot. The government’s intention to call the snap election - to strengthen its hand with an increased mandate - backfired catastrophically, with the ruling Conservative Party losing seats. So instead of drawing an ace or two, Davies ended up with a joker.
However, the Tories’ loss was expected by some to be the UK’s gain. All analysis pointed towards dire consequences for what has been termed a ‘hard Brexit’. In Layman’s terms, this means withdrawing from the Single Market (territorial sovereignty) and jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (legal sovereignty). The UK could end free movement and stop answering to EU courts, but only if it also lost valuable ties in other areas, such as trade.
Being audited is a stressful business. Being audited in France is a whole other level of stress due to the fact that tax and accountancy in France are not just matters of paperwork and filing, but matters of rigid laws that leave very little room for mistakes and carry high penalties.
We spoke to Alain Scemama (pictured) from the chartered accountants firm Action & Stratégie who are based in Le Mesnil Le Roi near Paris to get the full story about what lies ahead for anyone who gets the dreaded letter informing them of an audit on their French company.
Why would the French tax office want to audit someone? Is it a random selection or is it because they don't understand your business activity or your tax declarations?
Several reasons may lead to a tax audit. These include:
a random selection
being late for your tax returns
your bank transactions not matching your statements
because of inconsistencies in your accounts or inconsistency between the European declarations made by your customers or suppliers and your declarations
because of suspicion linked to commercial relations with companies under surveillance
following cross-checks on the verification of another company
a tip-off from a person either within or outside your company reporting you for tax fraud
Co-operation between businesses in India and the rest of the world has increased dramatically in recent years, and much has been learned. Many differences still exist however, and these can be disorienting for Indian entrepreneurs looking to expand a business to European shores. Here are a few differences between the two business cultures, and some tips on how to negotiate them.
1. Business structure
Indian businesses tend to be quite hierarchical. Instructions are delegated down the chain of command, with few opportunities to relay ideas or criticisms up the chain by lower-ranking employees. In Europe - and particularly in startups who value creative freedom - it’s much more common to find a flat company structure.
In startups like these, there are few to no management positions between a company’s executives and its employees. In theory, this allows businesses to be more reactive, requires less supervision of employees, and involves them more in the operation of the business. An Indian entrepreneur certainly won’t be required to run a company like this, but particularly in the tech sector, some employees may expect a European degree of autonomy and involvement.
Less than two years ago, Emmanuel Macron was a relatively unknown and innocuous figure in French politics. He now stands as one of the most powerful presidents in generations since his hastily assembled party has just scored a major victory in the country’s parliamentary elections.
La République en Marche (La REM) and its centrist ally Democratic Movement (MoDem) secured 351 of the 577 available seats, well above the 289 needed for an absolute majority. They took advantage of a substantial collapse in votes for the Socialist Party, who lost more than 200 seats following the Presidency of François Hollande.
The final total for La REM was slightly lower than the most recent polls has anticipated, with a few unexpected victories for fringe parties, including filmmaker François Ruffin (Unbroken France) in the Somme. Over 38% of elected MPs are now female, an all-time record.
Front National leader Marine Le Pen was elected to Parliament for the first time after four unsuccessful attempts, although her party only secured eight seats. She is among several party leaders disputing the legitimacy of the vote, after a low turnout of just 41%.
La République en Marche (La REM) was assembled in only a few months, fielding candidates as diverse as mathematicians and former bullfighters. More than 50% of these candidates were ordinary members of the public, having never held political office before.
Macron’s election as President was greeted with broad relief across Europe, as he defeated the far-right and anti-EU candidate Marine Le Pen. But there were also immediate concerns that he would struggle to consolidate this power.
So, who saw that coming? As results crept in from constituencies around the UK, the shock exit polls were largely borne out in the result. The ruling Conservative Party won, and increased their proportion of the vote, but managed to lose around a dozen seats. Labour, the largest opposition party, managed to gain more than 30 seats, and are only a few points lower than their rivals in the percentage of national support.
Losses in the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the total collapse of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) did not swing as heavily towards the Conservatives as many people anticipated, with some UKIP voters seemingly returning to Labour. What few predicted was that the strong ideological platform of Labour - and particularly its divisive leader, Jeremy Corbyn - appears to have galvanised youth voters, who do not normally turn out for elections.
Despite the election not being fought on Brexit, voters largely picked the Conservatives in strong ‘Leave’ areas, and swung back towards Labour in strong ‘Remain’ areas. There is also evidence that the jump in turnout was driven by the aforementioned increase in young voters, who were highly in favour of Remain. Those lines do not seem to have changed drastically since the Brexit referendum, however, belying any indication of widespread ‘Brexit’ regret at this point in time.
By Katya Puyraud – co-owner of Euro Start Entreprises
Perfume is not just some misty substance you can waft away. It’s a multi-billion pound industry that, according to advertisers, does not just sell scent. It sells a lifestyle and an identity.
To get to grips with the business of perfume, I went to visit French-born Emmanuelle Moeglin (pictured) the brains and nose behind an innovative company called The Experimental Perfume Club that provides workshops for individuals, groups and companies who want to find out more about the fascinating world of the perfumer and how to create a special signature scent.
Being a lover of perfume myself, I frequently drive my family mad by making pitstops through department stores to spritz and sniff all the latest brands. But despite being fond of a handful of well-known perfumes, I’ve always hankered after a certain scent that always seems just beyond the reach of my nostrils. No perfume ever quite hits the mark.
So off I went to the trendy side of East London to meet Emmanuelle and take part in a “Petite Parfum” workshop in the hope that I might create and capture the fragrance that I’ve always searched for.
Emmanuelle is a trained perfumer who studied at the top school of perfume in Versailles, the prestigious Institut Supérieur International du Parfum, de la Cosmétique et de l'Aromatique Alimentaire (which is thankfully shortened to the acronym ISIPCA) and is the aspiration for all those wanting to start a career in the perfume business.
She adds: “I decided I wanted to join ISIPCA from a very young age, maybe 12 or 13 years old when I realised it was possible to transform my perfume passion into real work. So it became my obsession to become a fragrance professional through this specialised school. I had to take a degree in chemistry before I could even apply. The training at ISIPCA was like a dream come true - you spend your days smelling and learning hundreds of ingredients and being trained to compose fragrances in the lab.”
Unlike the usual sterile atmosphere of a lab, Emmanuelle’s own lab is a fresh and welcoming space with no white lab coats in sight.
The recent election of Emmanuel Macron in France was seen as a major boon for the EU. Following the Brexit referendum, there were immediate concerns of a domino effect, with the potential election of anti-EU populists in other countries. But the elections so far in France and the Netherlands have resulted in centrist leaders, and Germany looks set to follow suit with Angela Merkel’s re-appointment.
With a return to stability, the desire now is to enact meaningful change to strengthen the EU and its economy. Macron is a staunch reformer, and is planning a major overhaul of economies on the national and international level. Merkel meanwhile must negotiate a long transition to a more digital driven economy, while acting as de facto leader of Europe. The way the two interact may decide not just the future of their own countries, but the state of the EU going forwards.
Belgium is lucky location-wise. Nestled between three European financial behemoths and with direct routes to the Channel Tunnel and the North Sea, it provides easy access to European markets for Belgian entrepreneurs who want to expand their business.
So for Belgian business people who want to base their operations in another country to take advantage of tax breaks and new clientele, what are the best destinations for Belgian entrepreneurs?
Being one of its neighbours, and sharing a common language (around 40% of Belgians speak French) it would make sense for Belgian entrepreneurs to look to France for expansion first.
France has a well-developed legal and regulatory system broadly similar to that in other EU member states. There are only a few restrictions on setting up companies, except in certain areas such as banking and insurance, and there is no restriction on imports or capital from abroad.
Ask anyone around the world what the home of fashion is, and they’ll give you the same answer. Having practically invented and continually redefined modern style, France is a fashionista’s mecca. Setting up a retail clothing business in France is many people’s dream: not just for the beautiful clothing, but also the lifestyle and culture that surrounds any French endeavour.
While boutiques and small shops were once a purely local affair, this no longer has to be the case. The ease of creating an online storefront, as well as several websites dedicated to sourcing from local outlets, make it easy to sell both locally and on a global scale. Opening a clothes shop in France could be the perfect compromise between an idyllic country life and a thriving business.
After several months of a long and difficult campaign, France has finally elected its new president.
Emmanuel Macron is now the youngest president elect of the French 5th Republic and has won the polls by more than 66%.On the second round of the Presidential election he was up against Front National’s Marine Le Pen. But it was not a classic left-wing / right-wing confrontation.
The main confrontation was between a pro- EU, pro- liberalism, open France against an anti-EU, nationalist one.The former has now been chosen. But the task of the new French president is huge. The country is divided, its economy is recovering very slowly from the crisis and its place in a globalized world has never been so challenged.
Nevertheless, this election can bring a bit of hope to the French population.First of all, we have a young president who wants to renew the political landscape and renew the way policies are carried out.Secondly, we now have a president who – unusually for a politician – has not given empty promises that he cannot possibly fulfill.Thirdly, we have now a president who is looking in the future and will try to help France to push forward especially in the greentech and new tech fields.
As an unfortunate by-product of security concerns in France over the past couple of years (not to mention the robbery in Paris of celebrities Kim Kardashian and Kanye West), the personal security sector has received enormous attention. Along with greater vigilance and protection of public events, the economic climate has led the French government to step up privatisation of security services.
Security is understandably a significant element of the current political and proposals have been made for further expansion of state security, including making it easier to arm private security personnel. The end result is a fertile climate for responsible and considered expansion into the French private security sector.
With British Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement of a snap election, 2017 has continued last year’s trend of political surprises. May had repeatedly said that such an election wasn’t in the UK’s “best interests”, and many expected her to ride out the remaining three years left after their decisive victory in 2015.
As with Brexit, the questions at this stage are numerous, and much will be decided in the run up to June 8th. But as all polls point towards a landslide victory, will the polls prove to be wrong again? Will May face more resistance than she expects over the fallout of Brexit? And if her party does win decisively, what are the ramifications for Brexit and UK business going forward?
With so many heavy hitters in the global economy coming from Europe such as Germany, Britain and France, it’s easy to forget that one the brightest stars in the international business scene is a smaller country nestled in North Western Europe – Holland.
There are many reasons why the Netherlands is great for international business and for those global entrepreneurs who want to branch out and expand their markets into Europe and beyond, there are few countries that can offer such strong prospects for building a solid business empire.
Location & Transport
The Netherlands provides an excellent location to serve markets within Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The central geographical position of the Netherlands - next to Germany and Belgium, and just a short hop to the UK – make it perfect for transport and freight companies that need easy access by air, sea, train and road.
Now the UK is all set to extricate itself from the EU, the British government is doing its best to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to come to the UK by offering some tempting business incentives.
With the British economy growing faster than the US, Japan and France, and with employment at an eleven year low, Chancellor Philip Hammond is determined to keep “Britain at the cutting edge of the global economy” and is taking the “next steps in preparing Britain for a global future.”
His incentives include the confirmation that the main rate of corporation tax will drop from 20% to 19% for the 2017 financial year and will then reduce even further to 17% in 2020. According to figures from the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Database and the Deloitte Corporation Tax Rates 2017, the UK is sitting in an excellent position to offer foreign businesses one of the best rates of corporation tax of the world’s top 10 economies, surpassed only by Canada and one other European country – Germany.
Starting a sports agency anywhere is a compelling prospect. Players at the top level of many sports make large amounts of money, and agents’ fees can reflect this. While the competition is cutthroat in many countries, France has opted to keep a closer eye on the industry. This can feel like it presents more barriers, but it provides greater structure and support than anywhere else.
In most countries, agents’ activities are only overseen by league associations, outside of the general application of the law. France is one of half a dozen EU countries to have developed specific laws pertaining to sports agents, and has comfortably the most comprehensive legislation. You will know exactly where you stand when starting a sports agency in France, and have an unparalleled network of support.
Choose a sport
With most of the money in European sport being poured into association football, that might seem like the obvious choice. But almost every major sport is a viable route for a new agency, with France ranking highly among all of them when it comes to agent registration. You may even benefit from starting out in a sport that has less obvious traction or public appeal.
France has already enjoyed enormous success in its tech ecosystem, with a record foreign delegation at CES and more investments in 2016 than anywhere else in Europe. But until now those startups could find it tough to hire talent from outside the EU - a crucial means of staying competitive. And established entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and outside talent didn’t stand to gain too much.
However, following on the heels of 2015’s French Tech Ticket for startup founders, the country has now launched the French Tech Visa. This new scheme introduces a range of means by which foreign talent can be fast-tracked. The visa accommodates for the immediate family of the applicant, and best of all, it’s uncapped. This means no arbitrary limit on applications driven by immigration debates, as in neighbouring countries such as the United Kingdom.
Working for yourself and living in the beautiful French countryside is an idyll to which many expats aspire. Being able to bask in the warm weather, indulge in French patisseries and enjoy classic wines on your terrace while earning money on your own doorstep certainly sounds like a cushy number. But the reality of letting your own holiday cottage or starting a gîte business in France can be rather less glamorous.
Five expats who have taken the plunge and moved to France to start their own gîte business give the low-down on what it takes to go into holiday lettings and give important tips you should know before setting up a holiday cottage business in France.
Location, location, location?
France is a country of varied landscapes and differing weather systems. In just one country you can find the swankiest cities on the planet, the most extraordinary mountain ranges, windswept coasts, sun-baked beaches and rolling green hills. So with all this choice, how on earth do you narrow down where to base your holiday home business?
Donna Thain who runs Old Bakery Gîtes(pictured), a complex of three cottages in Gomene in Brittany, says: “Many people will say research it carefully - be near a tourist attraction or the coast - but I think anywhere goes as long as you market to the right clients.
"One location doesn’t fit all - not everyone wants the countryside, not everyone wants the city, not everyone one wants the coast. Find your niche and reach your audience. For us when choosing our property it was important that we loved the property and location as much as we thought it would be a viable business.”
After a year of Brexit, Trump and all manner of upsets, it’s anyone’s guess who will win the upcoming French presidential election. While some candidates have been quick to highlight this year of upheaval, France is a unique country. The enshrinement of republican secularism, protections against populism and astrong left wing would seem to shield it from the same fates as its close allies.
There are some common problems, but the most pressing concerns are traditional ones. A recent poll of bellwether town Chartres - at a time some news outlets have stopped conducting polls altogether - indicated that more people are worried about personal and economic security than immigration.
Liberté, égalité, sécurité
For a long time, this looked like the defining factor in the public discourse. Republican candidate François Fillon (pictured with Russian President Vladimir Putin) was not an overwhelmingly popular pick, having presided over unpopular pension schemes in 2003 and 2008. His, however, was the most comprehensive manifesto, promising a Thatcher-esque slate of economic reforms to help businesses stay competitive.
These include several changes that would provoke riots in any other election, including the end of the 35 hour week, raising the retirement age to 65, increasing the goods tax by 2% and slashing 10% of public sector jobs. However, with unemployment stuck at over 10% through the outgoing President’s entire term, there is more of an appetite for substantial change than ever.
What he wouldn’t have contended with was a sudden personal scandal. It recently emerged that the former Prime Minister had paid 800,000euros over ten years to his British wife, for work she may not have actually done. He is also accused of having paid his two children for similar work, all at the taxpayer’s expense. This has not played well for a straight cut economic reformer, and Fillon has faced calls to drop out altogether.
Fillon would have been a palatable, right-leaning option, intended to lure voters from both ends of an increasingly polarised spectrum. Instead, France faces the possibility of a hard right vs a hard left candidate.
Despite the efforts of a certain President, it seems the world is finally waking up to the realities of climate change. Big polluters such as China and India have made major commitments to reduce pollution, while the Paris Agreement represents a monumental international effort.
As such, there’s never been a better time to start a business in cleantech and renewable energy. And there are few better places to do it than France. With European R&D funding, free movement of talent and burgeoning tech hubs across the country, France is at the forefront of the cleantech future. Here then are a few things to consider before you can change the world.
Pick a location
France has chased the tech industry with a steely determination, and their approach has already borne fruit. The Industry of the Future initiative has led to enormous investment, and the creation of numerous tech hubs in France.
No self-respecting businessperson would be caught without their trusty smartphone. Cloud computing and digital convergence have made it easier to carry work with us wherever we go, turning phones into vital business tools.
But for all the advantages this brings, it has become increasingly hard to escape our working lives. Email alerts at home bring us back into the business mindset, with the result that we find it tough to ever switch off completely.
In France, a new law is aiming to change the modern ‘always on’ mindset. Section 55 of the Labour Act requires that companies with more than 50 employees will negotiate periods with unions when workers will not be required to answer emails.
While there is no set time period, the expectation is that it will be applied as a ‘soft law’. Workers will no longer be required to respond to emails out of work hours - as has been the case at some growing companies - or chastised for not doing so.
Euro Start Entreprises SARL – Limited Liability Company (“SARL”) with capital of 8,000 Euros incorporated in Paris, France under the registration number 500 820 410.