Setting up a Business in France: Guide for Foreign Companies


Set up of Business in France

You have a project setting up your business in France ? Welcome to Ipanovia, your trusted International Business Development Consultancy. With our extensive experience in facilitating foreign businesses’ establishment in France, we are pleased to offer comprehensive support as you endeavor to establish a presence in France.

Our mission is to help your serve French and European clients

Why Expand to France

France offers numerous advantages for businesses looking to expand:

  • Strategic Location: Situated at the heart of Europe, France provides a strategic entry point to the European market.
  • Largest Consumer Market: As the largest consumer market in the European Union, France offers access to a vast customer base.
  • Highly Skilled Workforce: Benefit from a skilled and educated workforce, ready to contribute to your company’s success.
  • Stable Economy: France’s stable economic environment provides a secure foundation for business growth.
  • Government Incentives: Take advantage of various government incentives and support programs designed to attract foreign investment.
  • Best Infrastructures for Transportation and Communications
  • France recent changes in regulations and tax level for corporations combined with market size and economic environment made it the most attractive place for investing in Europe.

Many reasons to Choose France as publicized by Emmanuel Macron’s yearly International Business Summit.

Choosing the Right Business StructureSet up office in France

We will guide you in determining the most suitable business structure for its operations in France.

Branch, Subsidiary or Liaison Office in France

  • Liaison Office: A minimal presence for market research and initial setup.
  • Branch: A more substantial presence to engage in commercial activities.
  • Subsidiary: A separate legal entity with full operational capabilities.

The Business legal structures in France

Business Legal structures in France


Business Opening Process in France

  • Guidance on Business Forms: We will provide detailed information and recommendations on the pros and cons of each business structure.
  • Legal and Tax Information: Comprehensive insights into the legal and tax implications of each business form, helping you make informed decisions.
  • Registration Process Information: Detailed guidance on the registration process, including necessary documentation and timelines.
  • Bank Account Opening Information: Assistance in opening a business bank account in France.
  • Information on Entity Representative and Fiscal Representative Requirements: Explanation of the roles and responsibilities of entity representatives and fiscal representatives, if applicable.
  • Local Office Opening Information: Guidance on finding and setting up a local office, including lease agreements.
  • Employment Regulations: An overview of French employment regulations and labor laws.
  • Administrative and Governmental Guidance: Assistance in navigating administrative procedures and liaising with government authorities.

Steps for opening a Business in France

Open a Branch in France

Opening a Branch or Subsidiary in France has been recently made much easier with centralized process on the web. We have designed a complete guide to help you make the right choice and follow all steps :

Choose a Legal Structure

    • Decide on the legal structure of your business, such as a Sole Proprietorship (Entrepreneur individuel), Limited Liability Company (SARL), Joint Stock Company (SA), or Branch of a Foreign Company.

Register Your Business

      • Register your business with the French authorities. The specific registration process may vary depending on your chosen legal structure.

Choose a Business Name

    • Select a unique and appropriate business name. Check for name availability with the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI).

Business Plan

    • Create a detailed business plan that outlines your company’s goals, financial projections, and operational strategies. This may be required when seeking financing or permits.

Bank Account

    • Open a dedicated business bank account in France to manage your financial transactions.

Tax Identification Number (SIRET/SIREN)

    • Obtain a SIRET (Système d’Identification du Répertoire des Établissements) or SIREN (Système d’Identification du Répertoire des Entreprises) number. This unique identifier is essential for tax and administrative purposes.

Statutes and Articles of Association

    • Draft and notarize the company’s statutes (for SARL and SA) or articles of association (for other legal structures). These documents define the company’s structure, purpose, and governance.

Legal Notices

    • Display the necessary legal notices, such as the company’s name, legal form, capital, and registered office address, on your business premises, website, and official documents.

Tax Registration

    • Register for various taxes, including the Value Added Tax (VAT), corporate income tax, and local business taxes.

Social Security Registration

    • Register your employees and yourself, if applicable, with the French social security system (URSSAF) to ensure compliance with labor and social security obligations.

Employment Contracts

    • Prepare employment contracts that comply with French labor laws if you plan to hire employees.

Commercial Lease or Office Space

    • If required, secure a commercial lease or office space for your business operations.

Business Licenses and Permits

    • Identify and obtain any necessary business licenses or permits specific to your industry or location.

Health and Safety Compliance

    • Ensure that your business complies with health and safety regulations. This may involve inspections and adherence to safety standards.


      • Purchase necessary business insurance, such as liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and property insurance.

Employee Benefits

    • Understand and comply with French labor laws regarding employee benefits, such as paid vacation, working hours, and termination procedures.

Accounting and Reporting

    • Set up an accounting system to maintain accurate financial records and prepare annual financial statements. Consider hiring an accountant or using accounting software.

Annual General Meeting

    • For companies with a board of directors, hold an annual general meeting to approve financial statements and address key corporate matters.

Intellectual Property Rights

    • If applicable, protect your intellectual property rights by registering trademarks, patents, or copyrights with relevant authorities.

Data Protection (GDPR)

    • Ensure compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if your business processes personal data.

Environmental Regulations

    • Comply with environmental regulations, especially if your business operations have environmental impacts.

Customs and Import/Export Regulations

    • If your business involves importing or exporting goods, familiarize yourself with customs and international trade regulations.

Contractual Agreements

    • Draft and negotiate contracts with suppliers, clients, and partners to protect your business interests.

Go to Market by opening a Business in France

Sales and Marketing Operations Start Plan

  1. Market Research and Analysis: Conduct thorough market research and analysis to understand your target audience, competition, and market trends. This data will inform your sales and marketing strategies.
  2. Sales Strategy Development: Create a sales strategy that outlines your approach to selling your products or services in the French market. Determine pricing, distribution channels, and sales tactics.
  3. Marketing Plan Creation: Develop a comprehensive marketing plan that includes online and offline marketing channels, advertising, branding, and promotional activities. Tailor your messaging to the French market.
  4. Website and Online Presence: Establish a professional website and online presence, including social media profiles and e-commerce platforms if applicable. Ensure that your online content is in French and culturally relevant.
  5. Sales and Marketing Team: Assemble or designate a sales and marketing team to execute your strategies effectively. Provide them with the necessary tools and resources.
  6. Sales and Marketing Campaign Launch: Launch your sales and marketing campaigns, monitor their performance, and adjust strategies as needed. Track key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.
  7. Compliance with Advertising Laws: Ensure that your advertising and marketing materials comply with French advertising laws and regulations.
  8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Implement a CRM system to manage customer relationships and track sales leads and customer interactions.
  9. Sales Targets and Goals: Set clear sales targets and goals to measure your business’s performance and growth in the French market.
  10. Localization: Localize your sales and marketing materials, including product descriptions, advertising, and customer support, to resonate with the local audience.
  11. Sales and Marketing Reporting: Establish regular reporting and analytics to assess the success of your sales and marketing efforts. Adjust strategies based on data-driven insights.

Our Services

We offer a comprehensive range of services to support your business expansion in FranceStategie d'internationalisation

  1. Business Set-up Advisory: Expert guidance on the right business structure, legal and tax matters, and more.
  2. Business Set-up Assistance and Follow-up: Ongoing support through the registration process, liaison with service providers, and regulatory compliance.
  3. Go-to-Market Advisory: Insights into the local market environment, sales and marketing strategies, and business opportunities.

Pricing and Contracts

Our transparent pricing structure ensures that you receive the services you need:

  1. Business Set-up Advisory: A one-time fee of  applies, with additional charges for specific requirements or extended support.
  2. Business Set-up Assistance and Follow-up: a monthly (recommended minimum 1-year contract), equivalent to half a day of work per week. Additional charges may apply for specific requirements or extended support.
  3. Go-to-Market Advisory: a monthly fee (recommended minimum 1-year contract), equivalent to half a day of work per week. Additional charges may apply for specific requirements or extended support.

Ready to Conquer  France ? Let’s Connect!

Ready to take your business to new horizons? Reach out to us today for reliable support and expert guidance in accelerating your international expansion. Contact us

We help  Tech and Service companies, Saas, scale-ups, The French Tech , Private Equity and Advisory Firms for a successful global expansion.

You prefer to Set up a Business in Europe, check our dedicated Page

Emmanuel Facovi Directeur du Développement International ExternaliséEmmanuel Facovi ,Founder & Managing Partner

Svetlana Loginova Facovi – Cofounder & Partner

Meet the Partners Team

Contact Us

We look forward to collaborating with you to ensure a successful and seamless entry into the French market. Please feel free to contact us for any further inquiries or to discuss your specific requirements in more detail. We can also act as your liaison office.