France, an innovative economy... and a buoyant commercial ecosystem [fr]
A widely perceived positive image
Seventy-five percent of chief executives of foreign companies surveyed by the annual TNS Sofres-IFA 2014 poll pointed to innovation and R&D operations as factors in France’s attractiveness as an investment location.
Vibrant academic R&D partnership
The possibilities to enter into partnerships with academic research teams (76%) are particularly appreciated by foreign entrepreneurs. (TNS Sofres-IFA, 2014)
A innovation-friendly environment nationwide
Proximity to markets and other operations belonging to the company (77%), to France’s innovation clusters (70%), and highly qualified R&D personnel (75%), as well as the amount of state aid available for R&D (65%) create an ideal environment for business growth. (TNS Sofres-IFA, 2014)
High proportion of R&D personnel
With 9.2 researchers per thousand labor force in 2011, France is ranked among the leading countries in the world. (OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators, 2014)
Highly qualified researchers
Twelve of the 55 Fields Medals (often described as the “Nobel Prize for Mathematics”) have been awarded to French mathematicians. With 55% of tertiary education graduates employed in scientific or technological occupations, France is well above the EU average (47%).
Tax incentives for innovation
Boasting not only France’s research tax credit but also its innovative new company (jeune entreprise innovante – JEI) status, the French tax system offers the most generous R&D tax treatment for companies in Europe.
Foreign investment projects on the rise
Foreign investment projects are growing rapidly in R&D, engineering and design, with 77 investment decisions recorded in 2013, versus 58 in 2012. (IFA Annual Report 2013: Job-creating foreign investment in France, 2014).
Innovation clusters: building blocks of the French economy
France’s 71 innovation clusters are attractive commercial ecosystems for foreign investors. More than 606 foreignowned companies were members in 2012. (French government (DGE), 2014).
Solid government innovation programs
Leading government reforms to improve France’s competitiveness, enhance the attractiveness of the French economy, and seize the opportunities offered by innovation include the National Pact for Competitiveness and Employment, the government’s Digital Roadmap, the first and second phases of the “National Investment Program” (PIA 1 and 2), the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge”, and 34 sector-based initiatives.
Another major initiative: "La French Tech"
“La French Tech” is a major initiative to stimulate France’s most vibrant regional ecosystems and support the growth of their startups and digital companies. The funding it provides falls under the umbrella of the “National Investment Program”. €200 million have been invested in private-sector initiatives (accelerator programs) to help digital companies grow faster and succeed internationally. A further €15 million have been allocated to support fab labs and attract foreign talent, entrepreneurs and investors.