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).
A Guide to the Main Business Structures in France
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 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.
SARL - Société à Responsibilité Limitée
A SARL is the equivalent of a Limited Liability Company. It’s a good choice for small and medium sized businesses because it is relatively easy to incorporate, manage and operate. There is also the option of transforming a SARL into an SA further along the line if the investor’s business has developed to such an extent that a change is necessary.
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.”
Law and Order
The French are known for their love of licences and laws, so what potential health and safety hazards do holiday cottage owners need to be aware of? Here is a breakdown of the main points:
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.
Incorporating a video game company is much the same as any other business. But the unique requirements of this competitive industry require some in-depth research. Here are some of the most important things to consider before you take a leap into the digital realm.
Utilising tax breaks to start a video game company
You may not realise it, but starting an indie game company positions you in one of the world’s most valuable industries. Since 2012 video game sales have outstripped movies and music combined, with the very biggest titles making close to a billion dollars.
The most expensive and profitable game of all time, Grand Theft Auto V, was developed predominantly in Scotland. This owes much to Dundee’s rich gaming heritage, but also to the fact that the UK offers generous tax incentives. British productions meeting loose cultural criteria can be entitled to up to 80% of core expenditure, as long as it was spent within the European Economic Area (EEA).
Finland has become a surprise candidate for the best indie video game startup hub, following a massive few years for mobile development. Hot on the heels of Angry Birds maker Rovio, Finnish company Supercell posted $2.3bn in revenue and almost $1bn in profit last year. This owes a lot to the government fund Tekes, which provides $130m to tech companies each year. The fund relies entirely on subsequent tax revenue, and more than made its money back from the initial $3m investment in Supercell as a tiny startup.
The third spot in Europe by popular opinion goes to France, which recently expanded its incentives for game developers. Home to Assassin's Creed publisher Ubisoft, France now offers tax breaks to 18 rated games, cutting up to 20% of total costs on projects of over €100,000. Another French speaking territory, Canada, is one of the world’s other leading homes for developers. Home to Ubisoft, EA and Rockstar studios including Edmonton’s BioWare, each territory offers its own incentives. Quebec provides a relief of up to 37.5% on employee salaries, while Ontario offers 40%.
If you’ve been thinking about opening a company in France but haven’t found the right time to do it, then 2017 could be the year to achieve that goal.
Starting a business in France – or in any country other than your own – is always a serious undertaking. So you need to consider a wide range of issues before you take the plunge.
Each country has its own set of rules and regulations for company registration and formation, and France is no exception. Before opening your company, you’ll need to pick a business structure - for example a SARL or an SAS. (For more information, click here for an explanation of the different structures available).
And in France, you have to open a business bank account with a reputable bank BEFORE you register your company. (Click here for information on how to open a bank account in France and if you want to find out about what NOT to do if you want to open a bank account in France, click here.)
At a time of some economic difficulty in France, the country’s fashion industry is still firing on all cylinders. A recent report by the French Fashion Institute (IFM) found that the sector outperforms several major high-ticket trades, including aerospace and car production.
Yet according to the head of Jean Paul-Gaultier, "The French are not very conscious of the weight the country's lifestyle industries represents.” So how did French fashion come to be so dominant on the global stage, and why does it continue to fly under the radar?
The French Revolution
The image of France as the home of high fashion originates in the era of the ‘Sun King’, Louis XIV. The king’s decadent tastes led him to effectively nationalise the textile industry, bringing design and quality control under royal auspices. This approach shaped the French fashion industry for centuries and persists into the present day.
The term haute couture, or ‘high sewing’, was actually popularised in reference to Englishman Charles Frederick Worth’s Parisian fashion house. The House of Worth’s Victorian era garments were legendary, with its designers becoming some of the first global trendsetters outside royalty.
Their quality was such that Napoleon’s wife Eugenie was a dedicated acolyte, and the term became a highly respected seal of approval. It is still protected in French law, and delegated by the government to the very best French fashion houses.
With McDonald’s announcing plans to say goodbye to Luxembourg and move its controversial tax structure to the UK, other big businesses that are feeling the heat of EU tax investigators might also find a welcoming bonus in Britain post-Brexit.
The Conservative government pledged to reduce the UK corporation tax from its current 20% to 15% in an effort to pacify home-grown and foreign businesses who were worried about the implications of the UK’s exit from the EU after the referendum.
And it seems that big international businesses undergoing the scrutiny of Brussels officials who are clamping down on tax evasion could also see the UK as a safe option to set up their business structures now Britain prepares to leave the EU.
With Donald Trump’s promise to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on his first day at the White House it seems that the world’s export-import industries will have to brace themselves for change once again.
Just as the UK grapples with having to renegotiate trade deals with EU countries after the Brexit vote, the 11 countries that were part of the TPP deal will also have a battle on their hands now Trump has decided to drop the partnership.
Outgoing President Obama set up the deal between the US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru which makes up a massive 40% of the world’s economy. But as the deal had yet to be ratified by congress and with Trump’s promise to safeguard American jobs and industries, it seems unlikely that the partnership will ever go ahead.
But for entrepreneurs and businesses within the TPP countries (and indeed those UK businesses affected by the Brexit vote), all is not lost. The simple way around these trade difficulties is to set up a company in the country you wish to do business with.
Most of Europe is pretty straight forward when it comes to company formation – every country has its advantages and its particular procedures - but people are often put off setting up a company in the US due to the sticky business of EIN numbers, visas and bank accounts.
If you're an entrepreneur with itchy feet who doesn't like to stay in one place for too long, or if you have the type of startup that sends you from pillar to post all over the world, you'll need to choose your locations carefully if you want to stay in business. If you're serious about being a global entrepreneur, the best advice is to find yourself a local business hub in your country of choice that will give you access to facilities and services in the area. So to help all you digital nomads out there, we've designed this international infographic guide to the best digital nomad hotspots and business hubs, and what they have to offer.
In the post-Brexit clamour to tempt businesses away from Britain, the best claimant may be France. The UK’s closest continental neighbour already has thriving hubs for many of the UK’s key industries. With the banking sector a particularly tempting prize, politicians have already rallied to provide further incentives. So what are the prospective benefits for potential defectors, and how complicated is the process of forming a business in France?
The swiftest and loudest appeal was from Paris to the City of London, primarily courting its financial institutions. With Paris already home to £3.1 trillion of assets under management, the French markets are well established. And in the run-up to elections, the French government is keen to distance itself from Hollande’s early policies.
Adverts welcoming British businesses went online immediately after the vote, and more than 4000 letters were sent to city investors. The French government has also worked feverishly to push through an extension to expat tax exemptions, offering eight years of incentives for workers based in France.
Two months ago, in the wake of the Brexit vote, then UK chancellor George Osborne announced his plans to lower corporation tax to 15% in a bid to convince businesses to stay. The move was roundly condemned by many EU countries, but particularly vociferously by French finance minister Michel Sapin, who said it was “not a good way to start a negotiation.” While the UK’s plans have been put on hold, the recent news that France plans to lower its own corporation tax from 33% to 28% indicates a change in attitude. But what does it say about the UK’s position in Brexit talks, and what’s the rationale behind the move for France?
It would seem like common sense to pursue the world’s biggest market, yet until recently many businesses have considered China too difficult to penetrate. But having laid the groundwork for success both at home and abroad, France is now reaping the financial and political rewards. In the wake of Brexit, this burgeoning relationship could upset the UK’s position as the number one destination for Chinese investment, and launch a new era of Franco-Chinese prosperity.
An audience comprising 20% of the global population makes China a naturally appealing destination, and for French companies, there’s a sense that the feeling is reciprocated. France is the most visited country by Chinese tourists outside of Asia, and a significant target for Chinese investment, with businesses including e-commerce giant Alibaba and phone manufacturer Huawei choosing France as their gateway to the rest of the world. The French president François Hollande (pictured) certainly has much to smile about in that respect.
But less than a decade ago, such a partnership would have seemed infeasible. Former President Sarkozy’s threatened boycott of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the induction of the Dalai Lama as an honourary French citizen hit both diplomatic and business ventures hard, with many fearing a long legacy of mistrust. Others have been put off by perceptions of an autocratic regime and an unforgiving legal system, where copyright laws are notoriously difficult to enforce.
Whether you already have a UK business or whether you were thinking of starting up in Britain, you may be feeling a bit wobbly after last week’s Brexit results. But don’t panic. All is not lost. While Britain starts slowly packing its bags and waving a forlorn farewell to the EU, there may be some opportunities in other countries for entrepreneurs who prefer to stay in the EU.
Republic of Ireland
Ireland may be a small country but the so-called Celtic Tiger economy is fuelled by foreign investment, low corporate tax and a liberal approach to trade. As well as being English-speaking and with its close proximity to the UK, the Republic of Ireland has the advantage of still being in the EU and using Euros as its currency.
Ireland is also perfectly positioned as a trade bridge between Europe and the United States and has a particularly beneficial tax environment on all trading income. Ireland’s government has streamlined its regulatory infrastructure into a single body - the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority. The overall regime is relatively relaxed and there are no general restrictions to foreign ownership. The good news is that capital and dividends can be freely repatriated and as Ireland has bilateral tax treaties with many countries, foreign investors find Ireland the perfect place to set up a business.
Now that the vote on whether Britain should exit the European Union has been finalised, businesses face a period of uncertainty as everyone tries to digest what this means in the long-term.
The wide-ranging implications of Brexit on businesses range from tax, employment, financial regulation, intellectual property and company law, but at this stage the full impact of Brexit will be impossible to determine without knowing the precise terms of the exit negotiated between the UK and the EU.
While a number of potential exit models exist, throughout the referendum campaign were discussions around the adoption of the Norway or Switzerland model.
However the main alternatives are:
Three young science students who won the Euro Start Entreprises startup competition are planning to launch a product to help solve the world’s energy storage problem.
Lukas Lutz (pictured right) from Germany, Luca Scherrer (pictured centre) from Switzerland and Daniel Corte (pictured left) from Brazil have created a new testing platform which allows high accuracy testing for batteries, leading to more information on how batteries and capacitors can provide more energy storage.
The team – which call themselves SPHERE – met while studying, and together pooled their knowledge in business strategies and analytics, electrochemistry and materials, and engineering and metallurgy to come up with their innovative system.
The team's international experience in leading research facilities such as ETH Zürich, MIT, UC Berkeley, Oxford University and with global industries such as Delloite, Lonza and Total, galvanised their desire to provide a solution for energy storage.
Lukas explains: “The world needs a better and more sustainable energy system. However, the large scale development of renewable energies is limited by energy storage. Batteries will play a decisive role in the future of our society but the current technology still needs to be strongly improved. We want to help scientists to develop the batteries that will power tomorrow’s world.”
After winning the Euro Start Entreprises startup competition, the team will start by launching their business in Paris – a thriving hub for European startups. We caught up with the team to ask them a few questions while they visited the capital to begin their startup journey.
For many people the monotony of a structured working environment is far from ideal. The notion of a perpetual Groundhog Day where you’re endlessly trapped in the same routine is leading many of us to become bored, dissatisfied and restless when it comes to our working life.
According to a huge report by Gallup, there are twice as many “actively disengaged” workers in the world as there are “engaged” workers. Put simply only 13% of individuals LOVE what they do.
It’s therefore not surprising that a growing community of ambitious and location independent entrepreneurs are seeking new and innovative ways of working. With many businesses simply needing an active Internet connection in order to conduct business, becoming a digital nomad is enabling an increasing number of indivuals to follow their passion from anywhere in the world.
It’s been an interesting few weeks in France. Under pressure from the upcoming election and poor opinion polls, the French president has been trying to cement his position with sweeping reforms to the country’s rigid employment laws.
Mass strikes throughout the country by those against the proposed changes show no signs of ending. For the sixth day in a row, thousands have taken to the streets of Paris in an attempt to scrap the government’s plans.
The government has argued that by making hiring and firing easier, less expensive and less risky, businesses will be free to offer more permanent contracts and get more of the 3.5 million unemployed back into work.
If you’re out wandering the Paris streets one day and you happen to see a huge bicycle in the shape of a restaurant table, with 16 people peddling along while tucking into charcuterie, French cheeses and bottles of wine, then you’ve just witnessed the Cyclo-Café - the brain-child of expat entrepreneur Andrew Lyons.
Andrew – who is originally from Pittsburgh but has lived in Paris since 2006 – hit on the idea after seeing a similar contraption on a trip to Texas. Having worked at the French Energy & Transport company Alstom, Andrew decided to take the idea further and make the leap into being an entrepreneur by launching his French version. Now his rolling café – complete with French style canopy and table covers - can be seen around the beautiful sights of Paris, peddled by not only merry expats but also Parisians too.
However, unlike his home country where such an idea could have been launched in no time at all, Andrew had to struggle with language barriers and also the French Auto-Entrepreneur system.
First off, he was met with the “flabbergasted expressions of the French administration” after he pitched his idea at the City Hall. Despite having a “thick and painful accent” Andrew was able to convince them that the Cyclo-Café was a fantastic idea and even managed to rouse the French officials into something resembling enthusiasm. Unfortunately, being such an original idea, the French officials resorted to their bureaucratic default setting and said they had no idea how to get such a project off the ground, except to give Andrew a list of numbers and other ministry departments to contact.
Andrew spent the next few months cold calling the names on the lists: “Wow was that painful!” he recalled. “Average waiting time 15 minutes; average call length 15 seconds; ratio of transfers 100%; number of hangups 95%; useful information extracted minus 1%. If you want to start a business in Paris, better be prepared to hoof it. Information is not readily available nor updated online. The language barrier is too wide for phone calls and you have to present yourself in person to be taken seriously.”
“If I’m a foreign entrepreneur who does business in France, how do I pay the correct French VAT / TVA rate for my services?”
This is a question that troubles many international business owners when they do business within global markets. Every country has a different Value Added Tax rate which needs to be adhered to by business owners who then need to pay that back to the government. But when you’re doing business in another country that has a different VAT system and rate to the country where your business is originally registered then things can get complicated.
In order to stay on the right side of the French law and tax man, you’ll need to register your foreign company for VAT payments (called TVA in France) so your business can charge the correct amount of VAT and not be penalized.
If you're thinking of owning a business in France and are planning to employ people to work for you, then you will need to hire someone who knows how the payroll system works in France.
Many business owners choose to outsource their payroll department because the system can be very complex and is subject to constant changes in legislation. (New laws are currently being passed that will completely change the way French people pay income tax - instead of filing their tax earnings individually each year, it will soon to be taken automatically out of their paypackets each month).
A French ‘expert comptable’ – a chartered accountant who is legally obliged to keep up to date with changes in tax and employee law – is your first port of call if you want to make sure your payroll system is well managed and legally organised within the French system.
Have you got a great startup story to tell? Then you might just win yourself a free startup package worth over €2,000 as part of our fantastic competition to find the next big startup in France.
Back in 2007, we were a little startup operating out of a tiny room belonging to a record company in a dingy backstreet of Paris. Nearly a decade on, we’re now one of the top company formation experts in France with our own office just off the Champs Elysees. So to celebrate our success, we’d like to pay that forward by launching a competition to give a helping hand to the brightest startup out there.
France is currently experiencing a huge boom in entrepreneurship and Paris is racing ahead of other major cities in its bid to become the startup capital of Europe. Thanks to the high level of investment and talent flooding into the City of Light, Paris is now seen as a welcoming hub for new companies and tech entrepreneurs.
But setting up a new business is always fraught with time-consuming administration – there’s piles of paperwork to get through, not to mention meetings with bank managers and accountants to arrange and visits to the tax office. That’s why we’re offering the chance of winning our French startup package worth €2,400 which includes:
- Company registration in France
- Setting up your business bank account.
- Legal publicity.
- Tax registration.
- Registered address for one year.
The French Tech Ticket – a government startup scheme to attract new business to France – announced the first set of 2016 winners with President François Hollande welcoming the successful entrepreneurs at the Élysée Palace in Paris.
The scheme was launched back in May last year and promised successful applicants funding of €12,500 for six months; fast-tracking to obtain a French residence visa; free office space in a startup incubator that provides training, mentors and business networks and help with French paperwork with an English-speaking advisor.
The 23 lucky startups, made up of four French and 45 foreign entrepreneurs, were greeted by President Hollande who made a speech outlining his plans for France to become “a land of innovation” and thanked the winners for their “trust in France”. He also announced that tax provisions will be made to attract foreign businesses to France and also to lure back any French talent that had emigrated to other countries.
Whether you’re an expat, a foreign entrepreneur or a French resident, starting your business in France can sometimes seem like a complicated procedure. But if you have all the information you need to know at hand, then you’re half the way there. That’s why we’ve compiled a useful free downloadable guide with everything you need to know about how to open a company in France.
It covers everything from choosing the best locations in France for your particular business, how to write a business plan that will appeal to the French authorities and how to choose the best structure for your company. It gives you a breakdown of the different types of companies – for example it shows you the differences between a SARL (a limited company), an SAS (a simplified stock option) and an SA (a great option for bigger businesses or for those that want to set up a French branch of an existing company).
If you’re living in France and considering starting up a small business, you’ll be presented with two main options. You can go the route of the Micro Entreprises – a self-employed option, great for people who want to turn their hobby into a small business or who want to bring in a bit of extra cash while continuing to work. Or there’s the limited liability option called a SARL, the standard business model which also allows for growth.
For anyone about to start a business in France, it can sometimes be confusing knowing which route to choose especially as the laws and regulations change so frequently. (For example, the Micro Entreprises scheme has just swallowed up what used to be the previous self-employed regime of the Auto-Entrepreneur). So to make it easier we’ve drawn up a list of comparisons so you can see exactly what’s on offer with each structure.
You have to be a dreamer to be an entrepreneur but it’s no good staring up at the clouds and waiting for the first million pounds to just drop into your lap. Once the dreaming is over, the hard work starts and the first step for any would-be entrepreneur is a business plan. Entrepreneur coach Dawn Z Bournand, founder of Fabulously Successful and the Paris Women of Success group believes a solid business plan is the key to a winning business. Here she shares her fool-proof tips for success to help your startup get the head start it needs.
Map It Out
"A business plan is like a map. If you plan a trip but you don’t sit down and figure out where you want to go and how you want to get there, it can take much longer to reach your desired destination, if you ever get there at all. Many would-be entrepreneurs have a dream of owning their own company but never define what they want that business to become in one, three or five years’ time. Formulating a business plan is an extremely important step because it helps you get clear on what you want for you and your company’s future. You need to create a plan around the vision you have today and then sprinkle it with a healthy dose of flexibility and room for opportunity."
There’s a good start to 2016 for both the UK tourism business and for Chinese visitors to Britain – from January the government is introducing a new two year visa for Chinese visitors to the UK.
Four times the usual six-month standard visa limit, the British government is hoping the new visa will boost UK businesses even further than the current £500 million that Chinese visitors spend per year in the UK.
The numbers of Chinese visitor visas have trebled in the last five years, and the two-year visa is designed to help Chinese customers who wish to make multiple visits but don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to apply for a new visa every six months. A new 10-year multiple visit visa will also be piloted in the near future.
In our field as company formation experts, we come across many inspiring international entrepreneurs. One of them is Nada Rothbart who fled her war-torn homeland of Yugoslavia and then went onto become a successful businesswoman in the US. Here is her brave story of survival...
Nada Rothbart is an entrepreneur who has had many lives.
From the ages of 14 to 26 she took advantage of her towering 6ft 3inch form by becoming a world-class basketball player in her home country of Yugoslavia. Setting her sights beyond a sporting career, she then qualified as a lawyer and opened her own law firm in Sarajevo in 1992. A month later war broke out in the city. As a Bosnian Jew, she was forced to flee her home with her husband and two children and made her way to Israel where she lived in an immigration camp.
When the opportunity to be rehoused in America came their way, the family moved to California but tragically her youngest son Ivan died from a deadly bacterial infection and then her marriage disintegrated. In true survivor mode, Nada pulled her life together again and trained herself up as a real estate agent. She eventually accompanied her eldest son Robert to Paris where he was playing professional basketball and whilst there she began Bikram Yoga training. Ten years later, she is now a fully qualified yoga teacher, owns her own Bikram Yoga Studio in Sonoma, California and continues to sell real estate.
We spoke to her about her amazing entrepreneurial journey and what drives her success:
You came through some really tough situations, Nada. Can you tell us what happened to you during the war in Yugoslavia?
My boys were six and five years old and after several months of us all living in the basement of our building without any chance to get out due to the fighting, I heard on the battery operated radio that there was going to be a cease-fire for five days. Without waiting for a second, I grabbed my kids and ran through the door. That's how I saved our lives. The journey from that moment to my parents’ house, normally a five hour drive in peaceful times, was the scariest thing I ever went through in my life.
Trying to open a restaurant in France, the home of classic cooking and culinary expertise, might be likened to selling ice to Inuits. Luckily for foreign restaurant entrepreneurs, the French are known for spending vast quantities on eating out, and are very open to fresh taste concepts and new places to eat. So how do you open a restaurant in a country which has such a rich culture in cuisine? We’ve devised a step-by-step guide with the help of restaurant owner Jennifer Kim Kelly who, together with her Italian husband Gino, owns two thriving Italian restaurants in Paris.
Step 1 – Location
If you’re looking to open a restaurant in a city such as Paris, you need to check out your rivals in each district (called an arrondissement). Most districts have a central point round a metro station which is often well-populated with cafés and bistros. If you want to compete with more established premises you’ll have to make sure you stand out from the crowd – either with your style of food or the décor for your restaurant. Or if you choose a quieter street, make sure there is enough footfall to entice in passing trade.
Jennifer chose the locations of her restaurants carefully. Her café-style pizzeria Pomodoro is based in the bustling cobbled streets of Montmartre which profits from large numbers of tourists as well as local residents. While her more traditional Italian restaurant Bombolo is housed right around the corner from Bastille, a less touristy location but in a respectable neighbourhood where eating out is the norm.
The French government’s incentive to attract foreign entrepreneurs seems to be working. The program - called the French Tech Ticket - has attracted thousands of business people from around the world who want to set up a company in Paris.
The scheme was launched back in May and promised successful applicants funding of €12,500 for six months; fast-tracking to obtain a French residence visa; free office space in a startup incubator that provides training, mentors and business networks; help with French paperwork with an English-speaking advisor; and the nice little bonus of reduced Air France fares and a chance to advertise with the company.
The program was particularly aimed at students who wanted to get the ball rolling on launching their startups while completing their education. Over 5,000 hopefuls from over 90 countries expressed an interest, with just over 722 startups making the grade for selection. Each startup had to be made up of one to three founding members with a maximum of one French citizen per team. Another stipulation is that the founders would need to also speak English and live for at least six months in France. The winners would also receive a ‘landing pack’ – a guide to living and working in Paris with help relocating to the French capital.
A few years ago Hungary and its capital Budapest wouldn’t exactly have tripped off the tongue of any global entrepreneurs looking to make their mark on the international startup scene. But the business world is a rapid and fickle thing, and where previously it had revered such cities as Berlin and London, it’s Budapest that is now gunning for the title of the top European startup destination.
Over the last year, there’s been a massive leap in the number of startups launched in the city, so much so that nearly a third of all the business in Hungary is now carried out in Budapest. So why is that? Could it be the cheap standard of living? Or the sheer architectural beauty of the city?
Both good reasons enough, but it’s more likely to be the fact that Budapest now has a growing number of startup accelerators and a wide range of funding sources. There are now over 170 startups located in Budapest, supported by over 4,000 Budapest angel investors, creating a hub for entrepreneurs with new and exciting ideas, especially in the tech scene.
Manufacturing startups are also attracted to Budapest due to its geographical location and great transport links with Europe with potential customers totalling 500 million with the surrounding EU market.
French banks are in a league of their own. Unlike the banks in Britain where the big banking companies compete for your money with interest rate incentives or insurance discounts, the French banks have a slightly different attitude. It’s up to you to impress them.
So to help you understand the sometimes pernickety ways of the French business banking system, we’ve compiled a list of what NOT to do. After all, the French like to start off a sentence with “Le problèm est….” so by tackling the negative up front, you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Portugal has long been a favoured tourist destination for Europeans, but thanks to some tax incentives introduced by the Portuguese government many tourists are now deciding to extend their stay.
Besides the obvious benefits of around 300 days of sunshine in the south coupled with the low cost of food and property, there are now three tax breaks that particularly appeal to retired people, foreign workers and business owners.
Tax Breaks for Pensioners
Foreign pensioners who stay in Portugal for at least 183 days per year can enjoy an exemption from paying income tax. This can mean a saving for some retirees of up to €30,000 euros a year. According to the Chamber of Commerce and Franco-Portuguese Industry, over 4000 people emigrated to Portugal from France last year, most of them of pensionable age.
Portugal is particularly attractive to the older generation due to the mild climate (kind to bones and joints!) and the fresh produce and healthy cuisine. In addition, the cost of living is generally 25% lower compared to the big European countries. And the safe environment, coupled with the friendly nature of the Portuguese – many of whom have excellent English, French and Spanish language skills – means Portugal is now among one of the top destinations for older expats.
The French are well known for their love of taxes. A list of 266 taxes levied by the French taxman has recently been doing the rounds on social media, causing quite a few raised eyebrows at the pernickety nature of some of the taxes. (Our personal favourite is number 62 – a tax on cross-country skiing!)
If you delve deeply into most countries tax systems you can find hidden charges and fees on many industries and trades. However this latest list has made international entrepreneurs who have their businesses based in the UK breathe a sigh of relief that the British tax system is much more streamlined.
As well as the tax system being much simpler to understand, the steady corporation tax rate of 20% makes the UK extremely tax-friendly and inviting for business owners and foreign entrepreneurs.
Some other advantages in the UK include the high limit for Capital Gains Tax which is only collected on amounts over £10,000; and a reduced tax for IT and tech startups or companies in the business of innovation or ideas. This tax is called the patent box and instead of paying 20% corporation tax, they only pay 10%.
Relocating to the UK – Part 4 - Working or Starting Your Business in the UK
In Part 4 of our UK Relocation series, we focus on the British work and tax system and how to start a business in the UK including UK company formation, registration and visas.
The UK is well known for being welcoming towards entrepreneurs – whether you’re an English business person or an international company owner, the British government is happy to have you as long as you’re trying to make money and paying your taxes.
Being one of the world’s largest economies means that many foreign companies have been attracted to the UK and have become successful by either opening branches of their existing companies or starting a UK company. The tech scene is particularly thriving in England with both big and small companies clustering around the East London area which has been dubbed Silicon Roundabout – the UK’s version of Silicon Valley.
Relocating to the UK - Part 3 – Schools, Doctors & Pets
In Part 3 of our UK Relocation series we tackle the subject of finding schools for your kids, registering with a UK doctor and dealing with any animals and pets.
If you have a family, then relocating to the UK will mean a huge adjustment. All children aged three to four years old are allowed 15 hours of free nursery school education for 38 weeks of the year, so if you need extra childcare that will mean you’ll need to budget in extra finances to pay for it.
In the UK, children start primary school at the age of four or five, depending on the month they were born. (In Britain, you calculate the school age using the school year – not the calendar year - so children who are born in September are the eldest in the class and those born in August are the youngest in the class).
Relocating to the UK – Part 2 - How To Open a UK Bank Account & International Shipping
In Part 2 of our UK Relocation series, we turn our attention to the world of banking and shipping....
There are many banks to choose from when deciding to open a bank account in the UK. Since the economic crash of 2008, the British banks are now a little more discerning in choosing clientele but if you have all the correct documentation, then you’ll have no problems setting up a bank account.
There are many high street banks that offer pretty much the same type of service: Lloyds, TSB, Barclays, HSBC. There are also internet banks such as First Direct and Smile and many of the big high street stores such as Sainsburys, Tescos and John Lewis also own internet banking facilities so it’s often worth checking those out too.
Moving to the UK - Everything You Need to Know
Relocating your home, family and business to another country might seem like an insurmountable task but if you have a list of exactly what you need to tackle, then an international move doesn’t need to be a stressful affair.
Of course you can always opt for hiring a relocation agent, but ordinarily those people come with a very expensive invoice so for those of you moving to the UK and want to save yourself a huge amount of money, we’ve compiled a helpful series of posts to get you settled in quickly.
The wonderful thing about Britain is that – unlike some of its European neighbours - bureaucracy is at a minimum, and most things are extremely easy to sort out over the phone or by email. The other pleasing feature is that the people are extremely helpful and friendly (as long as you’re pleasant too!) and there is a good culture of communication so most of your queries can be sorted out immediately.
In order to help you find your way through the British system, we’ve written this series of posts which include such topics as finding accommodation, finding schools and setting up your business in Britain.
We’ve also found the relevant websites to help you choose a doctor, find information on service providers such as internet and phone lines, and how to register to pay your local charges. And we’ve covered everything from removals and shipping, opening a UK bank account, transporting pets, visas, taxes and how to pay your UK television fee.
There are so many things to consider when moving abroad – many of which you don’t even know about until you get there! – but with this comprehensive list you won’t be caught out with any extra fees or nasty surprises.
Opening a company is a big leap forward for many would-be entrepreneurs but the jump doesn’t need to be so daunting if you’re armed with the right information. For those that want to start a business in France, we’ve compiled a helpful list of the 8 steps you’ll need to take to put you on the French business map.
Step 1: Business plan
You should always start by creating a business plan. This allows you to clarify your mission statement and vision for your business, and means you can show investors – and more importantly the French business bank account manager – exactly how your business will run.
You will need to consider who your market and customers will be, how much money you or your partners will be investing, what business experience you have and how much money you are likely to make and spend during the next few years.
Step 2: By-laws & Structure
Next you’ll need to choose the type of company structure for your business. The most common structures in France are:
SARL – which is like a Limited or LLC company.
SAS – which is a Simplified Stock Company for a joint venture between a French company and a foreign partner.
Branch – if you want to extend your existing business with a branch in France.
Then you have to register your by-laws, either with a registered company formation agent or with a lawyer. This includes being specific about your business – what products you’ll sell or what services you want to provide and what your business hopes to become in the future.
The infamous words “There’s No Such Thing As A Bad Idea” are routinely proclaimed at the start of brainstorming sessions to encourage innovation and trigger creative collaboration. But while risky and down-right ridiculous ideas are blurted out under the protection of these immortal words, is it really true? Is there such a thing as a bad idea? If The Apprentice is anything to go by, then yes, there are plenty of them. Love it or hate it, the popular BBC show has provided some spectacularly dreadful ideas, pitches and moments over its 10 year series. So if you’re in the midst of a creating a startup and looking for inspiration, we’ve put together a selection of some of the worst ideas and funniest moments from The Apprentice that you may want to avoid.