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Hello everyone.

I am seriously thinking of upping sticks with my wife and two boys (under 10) to France next year (once we have learnt enough French) and starting some kind of small business. I currently live in a "burb" of London and I am probably going to be out of a job by the end of 2010 so I am looking for a new challenge.

Is it possible for someone on this forum to send me a link to where I can find information on what the French Govt does to encourage startups of small firms?

Also, with regards to young children starting out in a new country, is it best to find them an international school or just plump for a decent French one?

Lastly, thanks to the administrators of this site. It looks great.

Shiner
 
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Hi Shiner, welcome to ExpatForum.

I'm not sure "encourage" is the right word! Sometimes I think it's more a question of researching which of the goverment obstacles placed in the French entrepreneur's path are easiest to overcome, I'm afraid.

There are some recent developments that make the administration of a small business rather simpler, and the tax and social charges slightly less burdensome, but it's still a much bigger challenge than back in the UK. What kind of field are you looking at? Another caveat is that some professions are regulated in France, being subject to no such requirements in the UK.

Learning the language is another big problem of course, to a standard that it can be usefully used in a working environment. Unless your business is international or mostly relying on Anglo-Saxon customers in France.

Kids under 10 are still just about ok for picking up the language when put into a French state school, with the proviso that in a few cases, for some less outgoing characters and/or those of average/slightly below average ability, this can turn into a bit of a nightmare. It's a tougher call once you get close to secondary school age.
 

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Here is one of the main websites put up by the Centre des formalités des Entreprises. CFEnet, le centre de formalités des entreprises sur le net Down in the lower right hand corner of the screen there is a FAQ (foire aux questions in French).

As you'll no doubt notice, all of the information is in French. The CFE's are organized by departement, so once you have an idea where you'd like to live in France, you should start looking for the websites for the CCI (Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie) for the departement you're targeting. It's the CCI's that sponsor and organize the CFE's in the departement.

There are not nearly as many "subventions" available for small businesses as there once were. Generally, the support given by the government consists of more practical services - like being able to do all or most of your registrations online, or delaying the starting date for when you have to start paying various taxes, social insurances or other administrative assessments. There are a few tax breaks left - mostly for those setting up a business in certain "hardship" areas within France, but these generally require you to create employment for several people in addition to you and your family members. And to take advantage of tax breaks, you first need to be making a taxable profit.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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