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Guide to starting a business in France

Staff Reporter | 3:23 PM |

Formal registration of companies has many immediate benefits for the companies and for business owners and employees. Legal entities can outlive their founders. Resources are pooled as several shareholders join forces to start a company. Formally registered companies have access to services and institutions from courts to banks as well as to new markets. And their employees can benefit from protections provided by the law. An additional benefit comes with limited liability companies. These limit the financial liability of company owners to their investments, so personal assets of the owners are not put at risk. Where governments make registration easy, more entrepreneurs start businesses in the formal sector, creating more good jobs and generating more revenue for the government.


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in France. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with up to 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected from World Bank: Doing Business 
No.ProcedureTime to CompleteAssociated Costs
1Check name for uniqueness with the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI)1 dayno charge (unless deeper research is made, for example, by field of activity)
2Deposit the initial capital1 dayno charge
* 3Publish a notice of incorporation of the company1 day, simultaneous with Procedure 2EUR 5.48 per line of 40 characters (assuming 30 lines)
4File a request for a company’s registration with the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE)4 daysEUR 83.96 paid to the trade register in the Commercial court
* 5Buy company books (minute books, inventory books, ledgers). Have company books stamped and initialed by the clerk of the commercial court1 day, simultaneous with Procedure 4EUR 40 for the books + EUR 3.11 stamping fee
* Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.