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Lyon ranked best city in France for work-life balance

December 3rd, 2013 No comments

Bonjour, readers:

As you may know, I’ve lived in Angers, Lyon, Grenoble and Paris. While all of these cities have their qualities and drawbacks, Lyon particularly stands out to me as a wonderful city for work-life balance…not to mention its ideal geographic location.

Two recent polls rank Lyon highly for its business acumen and work-life balance.

“Business Friendly”
An October 2013 ranking carried out by the magazine L’Expansion-L’Entreprise found Lyon as the #1 “Business Friendly” city in France outside of Paris.
This ranking is available for download here: Le palmarès des villes les plus « business friendly »

Work-Life Balance
As published by the ONLYLYON organization that promotes Lyon in France and abroad, the business magazine Courrier Cadres seems to agree with me from a November 2013 poll of executives and managers in France.

The full article and study are available on the Courrier Cadres website here. There were a variety of questions asked and sub-categories that the article develops in full detail. An excerpt from the ONLYLYON article is below, and the overall ranking graphic is at the bottom.

ONLYLYON
LYON, VILLE PRÉFÉRÉE DES CADRES
24 nov. 2013 par Marine Lanceron

Le magazine Courrier Cadres s’est intéressé aux villes préférées des cadres. La rédaction a réalisé un sondage pour savoir quelles régions et communes étaient à leurs yeux les plus attractives d’un point de vue professionnel comme sur le plan de la qualité de vie.

Ce sondage nous apprend que près de 8 cadres sur 10 seraient prêts à faire des sacrifices professionnels pour vivre dans un meilleur environnement et 4 sur 10 sont prêts à partir de leur ville ou commune actuelle.

Lyon arrive en tête des villes qui réunit les critères d’opportunités professionnelles et de qualité de vie (24% des sondés), devançant ainsi Nantes (13%), Toulouse (11%), Bordeaux (10,5%) et Paris (6%). Elle semble donc être la ville la plus attractive pour changer de région.

Lyon, ville préférée des cadres pour allier carrière et qualité de vie, selon notre sondage exclusif Par Aline Gérard, le Jeudi 28 Novembre 2013

Lyon, ville préférée des cadres pour allier carrière et qualité de vie, selon notre sondage exclusif
Par Aline Gérard, le Jeudi 28 Novembre 2013

Full disclosure: I’m an unpaid volunteer “Ambassadeur ONLYLYON” for promoting Lyon.

Again in innovation, French companies score high marks

November 16th, 2011 No comments

It must be innovation week…

In another poll on innovation (Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators), France has 11 companies on the list (the 3rd most behind Japan with 27 and America with 40). The brilliant chaps over at The Economist have a nice article on this, below here for easy reading (France boldfaced for emphasis on my part).

Where innovation lies
Nov 16th 2011, 16:54 by The Economist online

Where are the world’s most innovative companies and what do they do?

Companies that make semiconductors and other electronic components are collectively the most innovative industry, according to an analysis of patents carried out by Thomson Reuters, an information-services provider. Its “Top 100 Global Innovators” report rates companies by the proportion of their patent applications that are granted; the number of “quadrilateral” patents (those granted in China, Europe, Japan and America); how often patents are cited by other companies; and whether patents relate to new techniques or inventions or are refinements of existing ones. This approach is intended to overcome the limitations of using the number of patents filed or granted as a measure of innovation. Of the 100 companies in the list, which is not ranked and relates to patent activity from 2005-2010, 40 are from America, 27 from Japan and 11 from France. No Chinese companies qualified. The report says this “underscores the fact that although China is leading the world in patent volume, quantity does not equate to influence and quality.”

Marks and Spencer to return to France this year

According to BBC News, famous British retailer Marks and Spencer is set to return to France this year, after a 10 year absence. They will open a 15,000 square foot store on the Champs-Elysées later this year. Article below.

1 April 2011 Last updated at 08:20 GMT
Marks and Spencer to return to French retail market

Marks and Spencer has announced it is to re-enter the French retail market, 10 years after shutting down all its European stores.

The company said it would open a 15,000 square foot store on the Champs-Elysées in Paris later this year.

M&S also said it was in talks with its partner SSP to launch a number of its Simply Food stores, under franchise, in Paris.

The retailer is also planning to launch an international online service.

M&S closed all its European stores in 2001 in order to focus on its core UK business.

“Marks and Spencer has great brand awareness here in France and a place in customers’ hearts,” said Marc Bolland, Marks and Spencer’s chief executive.

The new French store and website are expected to open ahead of the Christmas trading period.

M&S is the UK’s largest clothing retailer with a significant presence in the food market.

French venture capital at record levels

According to the the March 22 edition of French financial daily La Tribune, venture capital in France in 2010 reached its highest levels since 2000. For those of you who cannot read the article (due to subscription restrictions), I have summed it up in English below.

An interesting linguistic note that reveals a lot about cultural differences is the expression in French for “venture capital”: capital-risque, or “risk capital”. So whereas the risk-taking “Anglo-Saxon” cultures positively think of investing in businesses as “ventures”, the actual French term emphasizes the traditional risk-averse culture of France (that is gradually evolving, as the article illustrates).

Another example of this difference is that more Americans and British invest in stocks for their pensions whereas it is less of a natural option for French workers. But this too is changing.

I have some venture capital links on my business in France page.

Do you have any views of venture capital and investments in France?

“Le capital-risque en France retrouve des niveaux record”

Venture capital funds invested about €1.05 billion in 2010 (compared to €910 million in 2009). This is the highest amount since 2000, when VC reached €1.14 billion.

Investment over the past six semesters (notice the dip 2nd half of 2009)

2008: €470 mil (1st semester), €556 mil (2nd semester)
2009: €503 mil (1st semester), €407 mil (2nd semester)
2010: €515 mil (1st semester), €532 mil (2nd semester)

Most capital came from local investment funds, or FIP (Fonds d’investissement de proximité) and innovation mutual funds, or FCPI (Fonds commun de placement dans l’innovation). In fact, the second half of 2010, FIP’s and FCPI’s represented 62.5% of investments.

N.B. you can learn more about these and other French investment terminology here. See below for explanation of FCPI from that link.

Another trend is that most venture capital firms invest in the last stage, or second rounds, instead of early stage investments. Early stage made up only 7% of VC investments in the last ten months of 2010.

One last note is that the health, life sciences and pharmaceutical industries make up almost 25% of venture capital investments.

FCPI: French type of mutual funds, created in 1997, intended to support the development of innovating firms.

The capital collected by a FCPI is invested at least up to 60 % in the capital of non listed companies, or of limited liability companies, to which the Agence nationale de la valorisation de la recherche (ANVAR) gives the label “innovating”.

Subject to keep the FCPI shares during at least five years, the subscriber profits from tax advantages at the time of the subscription (tax cut) and at the time of the resale (possible exemption of the cashed products and the appreciations in certain cases)

Women in business; top French SME’s with women in control

In honor of the 100th International Women’s Day (Journée da la Femme) The French financial newspaper La Tribune had a special report with several articles yesterday on women in business. They paired up with the group Women Equity for Growth for the special. Links to the articles are below (in French). La Tribune also organized a Women’s Awards night in November.

The Economist also put out a series of charts on women in society: in politics, on boards, at business schools, in work. These compare the position of women in several countries. Very interesting and pertinent study. As the article states, despite significant progress and opportunities for women in the past century, “…the difference in male and female employment rates in many countries is still large and persistent. While progress has been made, there is a long way to go before gender equality is reached.”

Expatica also features an article on “Four trends helping women in business move ahead.”

Meanwhile, a European Parliament group released a report on gender inequality and called for the European Commission to cut the gender pay gap by 1 percent per year.

La Tribune articles:

Article on Top 50 SME’s with women at top
PDF list of the Top 50
Les Editions Belin publisher adapting to 21st century technology
Interview with Union Plastic President Florence Poivey

There were also several special TV programs dedicated to the day:
“Dans le coeur des femmes” (special show with debate and discussion by feminists, journalists, business leaders, philosophers…), not yet available online
“Une semaine sans les femmes” men trying to manage the family without their wives
Chabada show to celebrate women (with songs, etc)

France to eliminate tax cap, reform wealth tax

France is unfortunately known for its high taxes. One of the recent fiscal measures, le bouclier fiscal or the tax cap (a.k.a. tax shield) limited all direct income taxes to 50% no matter the income bracket. I wrote about this recently on Bonjour Paris. Those who defended it said it lightened the load of taxes, but those opposed to it reckoned it protected the wealthy while not contributing to reducing the deficit and debt.

Recent debate lead up to today’s decision, announced today by Prime Minister François Fillon, to end the policy. (However, some sort of tax cap will remain in place, at an unspecified percentage, for the less well-off, which make up 52% of the beneficiaries). You can see the French article from Le Point at the link above, and the video from BFM TV below.

Below the video, excerpts from this Wall Street Journal article. Next on the agenda: reforming or abolishing the wealth tax (see more in WSJ and Bonjour Paris articles as well as a detailed report by Le Figaro), which could help as many as 300,000 households pay less tax.

What are your thoughts on these developments?

EUROPE BUSINESS NEWSMARCH 3, 2011, 7:38 A.M. ET
French Prime Minister Says Tax Shield to be Abolished

By WILLIAM HOROBIN

PARIS—French Prime Minister François Fillon Thursday confirmed the government intends to abolish a tax shield that has become a controversial hallmark of Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency.

Mr. Sarkozy decreased the threshold of the tax shield shortly after coming to power in 2007 so that no taxpayer pays more than half their income in taxes. But his ratings have hit record lows and the tax shield has become a thorn in his side as many voters see it as a measure benefiting the wealthy few.

“We have to face up to reality: the tax shield has been misunderstood, and the crisis has probably made our citizens more sensitive to some of its effects,” Mr. Fillon told a conference, organized to discuss the reform of property and capital taxes that Mr. Sarkozy has promised for the first half of 2011.

The tax shield was designed in part to limit the impact of France’s wealth tax, which Mr. Sarkozy also intends to reform before the presidential elections in May 2012.

The government says it will either do away with the wealth tax completely or significantly modify it. Mr. Fillon said Thursday said the reform will free 300,000 households from the wealth tax.

Yet the government is insisting the reform must have a neutral impact on public finances at a time when France is fighting to rein in deficits. If the wealth tax and the tax shield are abolished, the government will need around €3.2 billion ($4.44 billion) to make up the shortfall.

“We won’t finance this reform with debt. Balancing the budget will be strictly respected,” Mr. Fillon said.

He also ruled out a variety of options that have been suggested in recent months. The government will not tax gains on the sale of main residences, will not reverse its reduction of inheritance tax, and will not introduce an additional tax bracket, Mr. Fillon said.

Mr. Fillon also said the reform of capital and property tax is one of the reforms necessary for greater tax convergence in the euro zone.

European leaders are negotiating a competitiveness pact for members of the euro zone. Some countries have balked at Franco-German proposals that they fear would compromise their sovereignty in sensitive areas like pensions and salaries.

Mr. Fillon said France and Germany should aim to harmonize corporate taxes, starting with the base of these taxes before looking at the rates.

60 ideas to streamline SME operations in France

February 17th, 2011 No comments

The CGPME (Confédération Générale des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises) is a business interest group in France representing entrepreneurs and directors of start-ups and SME (small and medium enterprises). They have proposed 60 ideas to simplify business operations for SME’s in France. They cover administrative, hiring, accounting, financing, etc. You can download the PDF (in French) on their site, under the PDF logo “en savoir plus”. The opening remarks below state that for the French economy, simplifying administrative procedures for SME’s is an important factor and that by rendering regulatory and business law texts more easily accessible and user-friendly, this would help French SME’s to become more productive and competitive not only at home but also abroad.

Jeudi 17 février 2011
Simplifications administratives
60 propositions de la CGPME
Propos liminaires

Les dispositifs de simplification administrative représentent des enjeux majeurs pour notre économie.

En permettant une meilleure lisibilité et compréhension des réglementations, en améliorant la transparence de l’administration, ils simplifient le contexte dans lequel les entreprises exercent leur activité : une réglementation administrative mal conçue et obsolète peut décourager la création d’entreprise, entraver l’innovation et dresser des obstacles rendant les entreprises moins compétitives au plan international.

Taking Up Residence article: “Doing business in France”

October 27th, 2010 2 comments

In this month’s edition of Taking Up Residence, I write an article about the basics of French business, legal entities and the main features of the principal models available. You can download the latest newsletter from this site as well as the LinkedIn group Expat Web among the discussions.

My article is pp. 5-7 and includes a link to my page on business in France, but I highly encourage you to read the whole newsletter, as you will it is full of pertinent advice from a wide variety of experts. Taking Up Residence consistently puts out quality information, and I’m happy to collaborate with them on this France project. Thanks to Michiel Schokking for putting this great issue together, and thank you to the other writers. See the message below.

Greetings and welcome to the October edition of our (PDF) newsletter which can be downloaded here: http://www.takingupresidence.com/download/EXPATWEB-OKT2010.pdf

This month, we profile France. A combination of old world charm, unique cultural heritage, and modern sophistication lures millions of tourists from all over the world to its borders each year. For professional expats, steady economic progress and a strong social support system feeds the attraction. To read more about life in France, go to the TakingUpResidence website: http://www.takingupresidence.com/france.html.

In this issue…

–Senior Editor, Diana Heeb Bivona offers a few French business culture tidbits in ‘Formality and Respect are Valued’;

–Elsa Guillais and Rachel Ryder of Emigra Ogletree Worldwide provide an overview of French immigration law in ‘Recent Changes in French Immigration Policies’;

Michael Barrett an American expat living in France and creator of the blog, American Expat in France offers insights for entrepreneurs regarding ‘Doing Business in France‘; and

–Attorney Haywood Wise takes a closer look at commercial immigration in ‘Professional – Commercial Immigration to France Favors Admission of Skilled Entrepreneurs – Recent Reforms’

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