By Adeline Belle

According to the latest “Doing Business” report issued by the World Bank in 2017, France is ranked 27th when it comes to starting a business and 29th when it comes to the “ease of doing business”. Which is way behind New Zealand (1st), the UK (7th) the USA (8TH), but also Latvia (14th), Georgia (17th) and Malaysia (23rd).

Why is it so?

One of the main reasons from a foreigner’s perspective is the administrative paperwork and maze you have to go through.

Whether you find yourself in France by choice or by serendipity you can still make the most of it and start the business you’ve always wanted to.

Don’t panic! Keep calm and breathe.

Different types of companies for different projects:

You’ve already think about your project, you’ve settled a solid business plan and feel ready to kick it.

Now, you need to explore the different types of company to fit your project.

There are different types of companies, according to whether you are starting a business on your own or with partners, according to your will to start straight away or to try out your concept as a micro-entrepreneur.

Among the main limited liability companies[1] are:

Société à responsabilité limitée (SARL)

At least one partner and up to 100 partners,

A minimum share capital of 1 euro,

Statuts” framed by the French Commercial Code,

The manager of the company has to be a natural person (i.e not a legal person as another company),

Transfer of shares is subject to approval.

Société Anonyme (SA)

At least 2 members (7 for a company quoted on a  stock exchange) which are shareholders,

A minimum share capital of 37 000 euros,

Publication of a prospectus for shares,

Directed by a Board of Directors or Supervisory Board and Management Board,

Transfer of shares subject to approval and pre- emption clause possible but not compulsory,

Heavier process and paperwork.

Société par actions simplifiée (SAS)

From one member/shareholder (natural or legal person),

No minimal share capital required,

There is more flexible when it comes to drafting  the “statuts”.

Les statuts: the articles of association or memorandum of association

To register your company you need to file “statuts”, the equivalent of articles or memorandum of association. These organize the life of the company, state basic compulsory information such as the name, the headquarter, the aim of the company and share capital accordingly with article L 210-2 of the French Commercial Code.

Once you’ve drafted the “statuts” you need to submit them for registration alongside a bundle of documents. Depending on the type of company it could be composed of:

  • A list of deeds done in the name of the company to be registered,
  • A publication in a newspaper (for certain companies),
  • Appointment of the CEO or President (…)

You will also need to think about:

  • Cashing in the share capital in a bank account,
  • Registering your trademark,
  • Complying to a training and formalities with the chamber of craft and trade (Chambre de l’arisanat et des métiers) depending on the activity

Once you’re registered you will be given a SIREN number, which is a reference number for administration and business purposes (the number shall appear on your invoices for instance).

Do you feel better?

I hope so. If not another option is to face this challenge with the right people on your side: lawyers, accountants, coaches and inspirational people to share and exchange with. Actually everything we have here at A City for Her.

Adeline Belle

[1] Members of the company are liable for the loss up to the amount of their contribution.


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