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France encouraging foreign entrepreneurs with French Tech Ticket

French startup & tech entrepreneur & influencer Roxanne Varza recently covered France’s announcement that it will be creating a more attractive business climate for foreign entrepreneurs in France.

Hollande_France_FTT_visa

March 2, 2016 by Roxanne Varza
FRANCE OPENS ITS DOOR TO FOREIGN ENTREPRENEURS

Today, was a big day for foreign entrepreneurs in France – who were received by the President at Elysée Palace. They are still few but the population is starting to grow. Especially now that La French Tech (France’s national program to promote and support its local tech entrepreneurs) has successfully launched a program specifically designed for foreign entrepreneurs called the French Tech Ticket.


#FTTicket by numbers

50 teams from over 1,000 applicants were selected for the first edition of the program. They represent 23 different countries. And let me tell you, their projects are incredible. Startups from Israel, the US, India, Russia, Chile and more have come to France to develop projects that concern everything from diamond-based water purification to construction robots. When I met the startups in February, I was literally blown away. Seeing these entrepreneurs confirmed a long-held belief of mine; France is actually insanely attractive to foreign entrepreneurs.

Not so easy?

France may not have a reputation for being the easiest country to do business in – but that reputation is dramatically changing. The government is striving to make radical changes and is really listening to the needs of the local ecosystem. Today’s event was proof to me that the administration is willing to make a difference. Obviously it’s even harder when once is a foreigner in France – which is why the French Tech Ticket’s approach is really spot-on. The 1-year program places entrepreneurs in various French incubators, provides financial support of up to 25,000 Euros, mentoring, tax breaks for the selected teams and more. It’s a really great first step in the right direction.

Foreigners, welcome to France.

Every year I am contacted by people around the world who want to come to France but they don’t know how to do it. Well, it’s about to get a LOT easier. People who want to launch startups, work in companies and whathaveyou – there are visas and programs that will come out within the next year for you. Just wait and see.

More to be done.

There is still a lot more that we can improve but I am truly excited to see that the government is finally paying attention to such an important topic – and acting on it. People seem to always think that French startups are, well, French. Not anymore. France is really going global.

EACC conference in Lyon Dec. 17th: Investing in the USA

December 10th, 2013 No comments

The European-American Chamber of Commerce (EACC) has an upcoming conference in Lyon, France on Investing in the USA. The details (and registration information – under “inscriptions”) are below. I worked with some of these professionals before, and I can tell you it’s a great opportunity to learn more about transatlantic business relations, as well as network with like-minded professionals in Lyon.

Presenters will include the US Consul to Lyon, Clayton Stanger.

The Lyon newspaper Le Progrès also published an article on the conference today.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY:
The right time to INVEST IN THE USA
Enjeux | Dispositifs | Clefs de réussite | Supports pratiques

Réussir vos projets aux Etats-Unis: opportunités et moyens à disposition des PME.

Mardi 17 Décembre 2013 | 12h – 14h
OnlyLyon – Skyroom – Tour Oxygène
10-12 bvd Vivier Merle 69003 LYON
27ème étage
Conférence en français et en anglais

Les États-Unis représentent toujours la première économie du monde et le premier consommateur de la planète. À l’heure où les contours d’un traité de libre échange entre les États-Unis et l’Union Européenne se dessinent, il est impératif de comprendre les enjeux qui y sont liés et de tirer avantage au plus tôt de ces futures opportunités d’affaires. C’est également l’un des marchés les plus difficiles à pénétrer car l’implantation commerciale ou industrielle est souvent recommandée pour gagner en proximité et répondre à une très grande exigence en matière de services.

Quelles opportunités et quels moyens sont à disposition des PME désireuses de conquérir le marché américain ? C’est ce que vont vous présenter nos Experts, spécialistes de l’implantation et de l’accueil d’investisseurs étrangers aux États-Unis.

    Intervenants

Clayton STANGER :
Monsieur le Consul des États-Unis | Lyon

Julie-Capucine HOURS :
Responsable Amérique du Nord | CCI de Lyon

Tom THORELLI :
Avocat au barreau de Chicago | Paris

François HECHINGER :
Parner – West Region Venture & Private Equity Tax Practice Leader | BDO U.S.A.

Nicolas BERNARD-MASSON :
FDI manager de l’Etat de Pennsylvanie en Europe francophone | Lyon

Témoignage d’une entreprise (à confirmer)

    Modérateurs

Johann SPONAR :
Représentant Officiel de l’Etat de Pennsylvanie en Europe francophone et Directeur Général de SALVEO

Bradley STOCK :
Président de l’European American Chamber of Commerce Rhône-Alpes

    Programme

11h40 – Accueil + Cocktail de bienvenue
12h15 – Séminaire
13h30 – Questions | Cocktail networking | Rendez-vous B to B

Inscriptions
L’inscription est gratuite mais obligatoire : natacha.lalande@eaccfrance.eu

How attractive is France’s investment environment?

December 17th, 2012 1 comment

The French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) posted the following summary of a report recently carried out by consulting and accounting firm KPMG.

The full report is available here, entitled “Facts & Figures on France’s Investment Attractiveness”.

Probably a good idea to check out other resources as well.

There is an interesting report by The Economist in their “The World in 2013” edition that highlights the likely challenges facing President Hollande’s administration in the next year including the difficulty in encouraging business growth and more investment.

While France remains a country that retains an attractive profile, there is a real risk that increasing taxes and a morose business climate could take hold and hamper growth in 2013. So although France has a lot to offer, it must make progress to improve the business climate and decrease unemployment. It’s not an easy time for Europe, and France will not be an exception. But as the adage goes, “no pain, no gain”.

From: Invest in France Agency

In the competition with other European countries to attract inward investment projects, France boasts a number of key strengths underpinning its investment attractiveness.

These advantages include:
– A large, dynamic market in Europe.
– A skilled, productive workforce.
– Recognized support to foster innovation.
– A plentiful supply of commercial real estate.
– Dense, high-quality transport infrastructure.
– High-quality energy and telecommunications at competitive rates.
– Renowned quality of life.

According to KPMG’s “Competitive Alternatives” biennial guide to business costs in over 100 cities in nine different countries, France stands out for having particularly attractive business setup costs, comprising labor costs, facility costs, transport, utility costs (electricity, natural gas, telecommunications) and corporate tax. In the 2012 edition, France was ranked fourth among the countries compared, up two places from sixth in the previous rankings (2010).

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)

Expat Expo in Paris Feb 4-6

January 28th, 2011 No comments

This below from the Expat Expo website (English version. There are also 8 other languages, quite impressive). You have to register (and pay) to attend. How to get there. Enjoy!

The first edition of the event Expat Expo will be held on the 4th, 5th and 6th of February 2011 at the Parc Floral in Paris. Expat Expo caters for all expatriates in France whether they are executives or managers, pensioners, students, property owners or investors, but also those who are preparing for a future expatriation.

For executives and managers dealing with international mobility, EXPAT EXPO is an opportunity to meet and network with industry experts to improve your knowledge on key topics such as legal issues, tax and social expatriation… Relocation agencies, banks, insurance companies, schools, tax consultants, recruitment companies, estate agencies… are waiting at EXPAT EXPO to offer you advice, information and services to aid your expatriation experience.

For existing expatriates, the fair is an opportunity to explore new opportunities and plan new projects. Travel, sport, culture, social life, investment, education, shopping… Visitors to the show will find everything they need to fully enjoy their new life.

A lesson for entrepreneurs in France

December 16th, 2010 3 comments

As President George W. Bush is rumored to have famously (and shamefully) stated, “the problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.” (Of course, that is a French word).

For those who think that entrepreneurs cannot succeed in France, think again. As Marc Simoncini, founder of Meetic (a dating website) proves, it takes smarts, determination and vision, but the landscape in France is evolving and although the country is not as capitalistic and entrepreneur-driven as the US, it is improving.

The Economist profiles this remarkable entrepreneur’s rise, fall and rise again, with pertinent commentary on entrepreneurship in France. Excerpts are below.

Do you have stories of success and/or failure in starting a business in France?

Lucky in love
A serial entrepreneur shows France how to love, and how to fail
Face value: Marc Simoncini Dec 9th 2010 | PARIS | from PRINT EDITION

WILD and passionate lovers are much admired by the French establishment. Wild and passionate entrepreneurs, not so much. Marc Simoncini, the founder of Meetic, Europe’s biggest dating website, is therefore something of an outsider. His career has seen more ups and downs than the romances he helps to spark. “I have been poor, very rich, ruined and now very rich again, at least on paper,” he says…

…Apart from Meetic, he has invested several million euros in Winamax, a poker website. (His partner in the deal is Patrick Bruel, a singer and professional poker player.) Last year he set up Jaina Capital, a fund through which he plans to invest €100m in five or six French start-ups over the next two years. He already acts as an angel investor for several young online companies. And he recently launched a television show in which he introduces an entrepreneur in a few minutes every day.

After his spectacular rebound Mr Simoncini feels drawn to philanthropy. Next autumn he will launch a private internet school in Paris. His aim is to create an ecosystem for aspiring online entrepreneurs, teaching them the tricks of the trade and perhaps helping them raise capital.

Mr Simoncini frets that entrepreneurial success is frowned upon in France. But he concedes that it has become easier to create a business. There are fewer bureaucratic hurdles than before, and the bursting of the internet bubble has reduced the stigma of failure by making it commonplace. Recent reforms have re-energised France’s entrepreneurial culture, says Frédéric Iselin of HEC, a French business school, who has also been an internet entrepreneur. Yet Timothy Bovard of INSEAD, a business school near Paris, insists that anti-capitalist thinking is still pervasive. Mr Simoncini has not forgotten the lessons of his yo-yo career. “If tomorrow the French state votes a law that prohibits internet dating, I will be poor again,” he shrugs.

For British expats: London and Colonial launches EU SIPP for expats

November 17th, 2009 1 comment

London and Colonial launches EU SIPP for expats
International Investment| 16 Nov 2009 | 15:05
Author: Sitanta Ni Mathghamhna

London and Colonial has today announced the launch of the EU SIPP, for individuals resident outside the UK.

The EU SIPP is similar to UK SIPP but enables a wider range of investments including residential property in both the UK and EU, provided they are not used by either the SIPP member or a connected person.
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It allows for a tax free lump sum of 25% of the fund value to be taken from the age of 55, with the remainder providing income, which can be paid monthly, quarterly or annually. There is the additional option to receive ad hoc payments during the year.

The SIPP is primarily aimed at ex-patriot individuals who have been living outside the UK for five tax years or more.

Adam Wrench, Product Development Manager at London & Colonial, says: “When investors move abroad they typically leave their pension behind in the UK or transfer to a QROPS.

“Once they have been resident overseas for at least five tax years, transferring to the EU SIPP will give them more flexibility to manage their retirement options and to make provision for their dependents.”

The EU SIPP pays out 100% to beneficiaries on the member’s death, whereas in the UK, tax rules means up to 82% of an individual’s pension fund is lost on death, even if the member is a non UK resident at the time.

Adam Wrench adds “This provides the opportunity for estate planning to be undertaken knowing tax will not be automatically deducted from the pay-out.”

“Quite often where a husband and wife have emigrated together, in the event of the death of one of them the surviving spouse will return to the UK. With the EU SIPP the non-residency status of the scheme is locked in.”

Additional features of the scheme include no restrictions on borrowing either for the purchase of commercial or residential property or for other purposes, compared to a 50% restriction under UK SIPP rules.

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