Doing Business in France has never been as easy. The new program of reforms has simplified the creation and development of business in France. Additionally, may you need a little push to make your project flourish, several types of help and public funds, both national and regional, are available to you. Here are 5 tips to find public funds and help. 

1.Understand the different forms of government funding 

Public help can come in different shapes and size to meet the need of the company. It is thus essential to understand the different types of subventions and who are the key actors for each one of them to eventually get in touch with the right contact points: 

  • Subvention: The French Commission for Regional Equality (CGET), the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) and the local authorities are involved in granting the subvention. The subvention is a non-repayable fund calculated upon the total amount invested in the project and the number of jobs that it shall create. 
  • Tax exemption: Determined by the economics ministry and local authorities, the tax reductions may be given to newly created business or in some cases if a struggling business is being taken over. 
  • Repayable advance/honour loan/zero-interest loan: This is a cash injection which helps company to obtain a bank loan. It does not need any guarantee and in some cases the payable advance turns into a subsidy.  
  • Tax credit: This tax rebate applies in the event of a loss or according to the activity of the company as such this is determines by the economics, labour and research ministries (I.e. Research Tax Credit (CIR) etc.) 
  • Low-interest loans: This cash injection is granted by Bpifrance. 
  • Co-financing and guarantees: Bpifrance can also bring you the necessary guarantee to bring forward to the banks.
  • Capital injection: Instead of a cash injection, this is an investment in equity. Several institutions can then be involved such as the French State Investment Fund (CDC), venture capital firms of local authorities and even Bpifrance 

Read more: Doing Business in France - government support and finance


2. Identify the funding programs that your project might be eligible for  

Once you have an idea of the different help existing, it is time to determine which one of these helps your project may be eligible for. This means that you need to assess your project. Indeed, the eligibility to the different fund may vary according to the purpose and the sector, the size, and even the location of your project. Business France’s experts can then help you identify these funds according to your business assessment. They can also connect you to the right persons (local authorities, government agencies). Contact us if you need help, it is a free service.

3. Clearly define the purpose of your project 

Not only each region of the territory has determined some key sectors that need to be developed in their zone and as such receive specific support but there are also some national wide helps that are related to the purpose of the project. The government support program are broken down according to the purpose of the projects (productive investment, innovation, training etc). For example, the government has introduced the research tax credit (CIR). The CIR grants a 30% tax credit on R&D up to €100m and 5% on additional R&D spending. All companies are eligible for the CIR and there are currently 23,000 beneficiaries. 

4. Evaluate the size of your company  

As the need for a project vary according to its size, it is only normal that the help granted also differ based on this criterion. The size of your company thus play an important role in the access and eligibility to the funds. The French government has created size categorises based on the workforce and the revenue. They are as follow:  

Source: Doing Business in France - Government support & finance

Nonetheless, any size company is eligible for some of the funding. The government has particularly at heart the desire the increase the help for mid-size companies. It is in the spirit that the newly accepted PACTE law has been written.

Source: Ibid.

Read more: PACTE law summary 


5. Choose strategically the location of your project  

Several points come into consideration when choosing a location for a project, such as the close availability of the needed workforce, the good connection of transport or the property prices.Indeed, each region has its specificities. The region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is interesting for the mobility industry and the development of artificial intelligence, while the Normandie region is interesting for the health industry etc However, it is also interesting to note that according to where in France you decide to establish your project you may have access to different help. The entire French territory is split into zones which bring different added. For example, if the company settles in specific areas of France, such as in ZAFR (zone under the regional help scheme) or ZRR (rural development zone), it can beneficiate from corporate tax exemption during their first few years of activity.