France Sees Sharp Increase in Businesses Created, Start-Up Boom

Michael Pooler reported late last month at The Financial Times Online that, “Justine Hutteau embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that France hopes can flourish. Little more than six months since the 25 year-old’s natural deodorant brand went on sale, the business has expanded its workforce from two to 16.

“‘We aim to launch a new product each month,’ said Ms Hutteau, co-founder of the company called Respire. ‘Our vision is to be the number one natural hygiene brand in Europe’.

“As strikes over pension reforms have brought disruption to public transport and put the government of President Emmanuel Macron on a collision course with trade unions, her ambition attests to another force that is playing out in an economy long perceived as lacking dynamism.”

The FT article noted that, “The number of businesses being created has surged since Mr Macron came to power with a pledge to overhaul the economy, reaching almost 809,000 over the past 12 months. This is up 45 per cent compared with the year before the former banker took office in May 2017.

“There have been sharp rises in businesses created in areas such as transport and storage, real estate, manufacturing and business support services, according to data from national statistics agency Insee.

“For some observers, the explosion is connected to government policies to slash red tape, reduce taxes and encourage innovation.”

Mr. Pooler added that, “Among the measures are state financial assistance and special visas for the technology sector to attract talent. In the first half of 2019, French start-ups raised a record €2.79bn, up 43 per cent on the previous year and higher than Germany.

“Beyond an easing of the bureaucracy and high costs that France has traditionally placed on businesses, the trend also points to shifting cultural attitudes towards work and entrepreneurship.”

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