Among European cities, Paris is considered one of the best for startups and even scale ups. London is still number one, but Paris is not far behind from the rankings which was compiled by the European Digital City Index in 2016.
The city of love finished 5th in the top 10 best European cities for startups, and also finished 3rd for top 10 best cities for scale ups. Paris is followed closely behind by Berlin, Copenhagen and Dublin. Each city is ranked by the quality of education, health care, infrastructure (including Internet and digital services availability), entrepreneurial culture and government/policy support.
Surely, its good ranking is a sign that the city is indeed advantageous for startups and growing businesses alike, but below are the following reasons as to why exactly this is so:
Businesses in Paris are divided into three main categories and those are “profession libérale,” “activité commerciale,” and “activité artisanale.” If you’re planning to establish a tech startup, it is most likely that it will be categorized under profession libérale since this category espouses professional services such as programming, consulting and even writing services.
Business that are categorized under profession libérale enjoy free registration! Now the only fees you’ll be worrying about are legal and accountant fees (because you need them to write your by-laws and basically do the legwork for your incorporation).
AFFORDABLE OFFICE SPACE OPTIONS
Paris is a bustling city, and there is no doubt that you can find suitable offices in a strategic location. However, if you are worried about expensive leasing costs, there are several serviced offices and coworking spaces in Paris that are good options for up and coming techpreneurs. This gives you the professional but affordable space you need while you are still on the verge of establishing the company.
In fact, a megahub for startups just opened in southwest Paris last year. This is the so-called Station F, a project by french billionaire Xavier Niel, the founder of one of Paris’s biggest telco provider – Iliad. Station F can reportedly house around 1,000 startups at most, and full-time residency starts at a monthly rate of €195. This megahub promises to be a startup ecosystem in one roof – partnering with top digital companies such as Ubisoft, Microsoft and Facebook. It also teamed up with investors and accelerators to make it easy for startup founders to get some funding.
Station F also has a coworking space for freelancers and individuals who are not yet thinking of establishing a company yet (and it is actually open for the public in general). The coworking space is complete with a coffee shop and a restaurant/kitchen zone.
INVESTORS ARE ON THE RISE
In the past decade, investors in Paris were not as aggressive compared to its US counterparts. However, the landscape is already changing with the onslaught of foreign investors in the past year. Industry experts see this new wave as a reflex of UK’s Brexit. With UK (London) out from the EU, taxes and trade laws might be changing as well.
And it’s not just investors, France also has lots of foreign talent coming in from different parts of Europe which includes Spain, Germany and Italy. This means that it is easier for you to look for talents from different markets that could benefit your startup.
London remains the top city for startups during the past few years, but because of the recent Brexit, it now finds itself in a peculiar situation. Other EU-member cities such as Paris and Dublin in Ireland are now put in the spotlight – with investors eyeing them as the new place to be.
The changing landscape in Europe that benefits Paris and other EU-member cities the most are beneficial to both homegrown and foreign entrepreneurs. This is mainly because of a shift of the investor mindset and entrepreneurial culture.
Paris (or France) in general was more conservative in terms of entrepreneurship – with most of its top workforce going into the legal profession, banking, trade and finance industries. However, with more venture capitalists coming in and the Station F hub, startups can now have a lot of potential in the city of love. Couple that with existing good infrastructure, government policies, quality education and healthcare, Paris is indeed a guaranteed ground for techpreneurs.