Why France

Discover France as a great place to conduct R&D, with a startup-friendly ecosystem in a central location in Europe.

The right place to conduct R&D

  1. Research tax credit covering 30% of eligible annual R&D expenses incurred in France, ranked 1st for SMEs in terms of effective rate (OECD)
  2. A skilled and available workforce: France is ranked 3rd in Europe for the availability of its R&D staff.
  3. A highly productive workforce (a high hourly labor productivity, ahead of Germany and the UK)
  4. France trains and attracts the largest amount of engineers in Europe with Germany: 1 million engineers and 70 000 PhDs (41% non-French). Each year, 50 000 engineers graduate, and 900 developers are trained by coding schools every year.
  5. For every sector, there is a specialized competitiveness cluster that fits your business, among the 56 clusters all across the countries
  6. 4 of the top 15 institutions on Reuters 2017 "World’s Most Innovative Research Institutions" list: CEA (3rd), CNRS (8th), Inserm (9th), INRIA (25th). 3 of the top 100 universities on Reuters “The World’s Most Innovative Universities 2019” list with 8 universities. And 12 Fields Medals.
  7. Opportunities for partnerships with research labs and academic teams. CNRS works with more than 1200 startup and CEA has more than 500 Industrial Partnerships and 187 spinoffs.
  8. Each year, no less than 10 317 patents are filed, making France the 4th country in the world (OECD Annual Report 2018)


Startup friendly

A start-up Nation

Entrepreneur is a French word. With more than 10 000 start-ups nationwide, France is the 2nd largest European ecosystem, and our ambition is to become the 1st one, with 25 unicorns by 2025. To reach this target, the government is investing 5 billion euros in the technology sector


France is among the simplest countries in which to create a company: 5 administrative procedures and 4 days. Labor reforms standardized severance caps, flexible company level bargaining and simplified contract termination.


The "Innovative New Company" (JEI) status is a tailor-made tax regime for start-ups that provides some corporate, local and social tax exemptions up to 7 years to hire a high-skilled workforce.


France is the #2 European VC ecosystem and has dynamic equity crowdfunding platforms for investments up to 2.5 million euros. €1.6 Billion public investment fund: including €300M earmarked for deep tech, we’re funding the next generation of startups.

Welcome Pack

the French Tech visa for employee is a fast-track procedure for international Tech Talents to obtain a 4-year resident permit, with no diploma or sponsorship fees or quotas requirements.


French Tech now has seven unicorns (BlaBlaCar, Deezer, Doctolib, Ivalua, Meero, OVH, Veepee and eFront) as opposed to only three in 2018.


7. France is the 2nd place in Europe for fundraising. Amounts raised by startups have doubled between 2015 (€1.8 billion) and 2018 (€3.6 billion). It should be more than €5 billion this year.

startup correspondents

8. The newly launched French Tech 120 program unlocks access to dedicated "startup correspondents" across key ministries and agencies to fast-track services, procurement & invitations to join the President on foreign visits

A key European Hub, centrally located in Europe

  1. France offers a quick and easy access to neighboring countries with its 3rd road system and 2nd largest high speed train network in Europe: Paris-Brussels in 1.5 hours, Paris-London in 2.5 hours and Paris-Amsterdam in 3.5 hours.
  2. France has the Europe’s leading business airports with Le Bourget as the largest European airport for cargo and Paris-Charles De Gaulle as the 2nd airport in terms of passengers. Our airports offer direct flights to 260 destinations around the world.
  3. Station F in Paris gathers 1 000 startups and is the largest start-up campus in the world.
  4. France is Europe’s second largest consumer market, and gives a direct access to the European Single Market that boasts more than 500 million consumers with high purchasing power. It is also a great platform to the MENA region.

A leading and open economy

  1. France is the World 5th largest economy and 7th largest foreign investor.
  2. Welcome To France: a free online dedicated service operated by Business France to help you to settle in France.
  3. Expatriates enjoy a tailor-made tax regime applicable for eight years, offering an income tax exemption of between 30% and 50% of their total pay.
  4. Foreign companies have increased their R&D spending in France by 9% a year since 2007.
  5. Europe’s highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies headquarters

Say OUI to France

AI in France

  1. The market for artificial intelligence for enterprise applications is estimated at more than $36 billion by 2025 in AI compared to $643 million in 2016 according to the Tractica study conducted in 2017, a trend that is growing by more than 50% per year.
  2. Since 2012, investment in AI startups has grown steadily from $415 million to $5 billion in five years.
  3. In France, €1.5 billion will be devoted to supporting AI; in Europe, France will act, for example, through the creation of a "European DARPA".
  4. Establishment of AI research centers in France: many foreign companies are establishing research centers in France, including IBM, Samsung, Fujitsu, and DeepMind. Facebook and Google will develop their IA center in France.
  5. 4 interdisciplinary AI institutes: These institutes are present in Grenoble ("[email protected]" with a focus on health, the environment and energy), Nice ("3IA Côte d’Azur" with a focus on health and territorial development), Paris ("PRAIRIE" with a focus on health, transport and the environment) and Toulouse ("ANITI" with a focus on transport, the environment and health).
  6. France is among the top 4 countries in the world for the global production of articles on artificial intelligence, together with China, the United States and the United Kingdom, thanks to its excellence in mathematics, ICST and HSS.
  7. In short, AI figures in France is: 268 research teams, 5,300 researchers, 81 engineering schools and 38 universities delivering 138 AI-related courses, 18 master’s degrees specializing in AI, 80 TSEs and SMEs and more than 270 start-ups specialising in AI, with a sustained rate of creation: more than 30% per year since 2010, 400 M€ per year of public funding for AI research

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