Running a Business in the Charente

Setting-up and running a business in the Charente is much like doing business in the rest of France – a challenge!

Although George W Bush didn’t actually say “The trouble with the French is that they have no word for entrepreneur”, he would have been right to say “The French government has no time for entrepreneurs”. Or at least it seems that way. They love to throw up roadblocks to success from one government department – and then another one will happily show you the way around it. The trick is knowing who to turn to.

For example: when you start some types of business in France you will be liable for tax and all the “social charges” in your first year. Not on what you have earned, but on what an average person running a business in your sector would earn. Even if you haven’t billed your first customer yet! This caused us to close down our first business pretty rapidly. Only later did we find out that another department would have paid benefits to support running a business during the early years in order to pay the taxes and social charges! Very French.

Living in the Charente since 1991, we have started and run several businesses, successfully. We have helped many other people get their businesses off the ground (we’ve even provided business advice and services to French companies). And we would like to help you succeed, too.

It’s probably fair to say that most French civil servants and bureaucrats will provide you with the information you need. But only if you ask the right questions!
You can save yourself from being sent down blind-alleys and duplicating effort, with just a timely bit of advice or guidance. We are on your side.

There are plenty of websites that offer good, comprehensive advice (in English) on setting up and running a business in France - (e.g. French-Property http://www.french-property.com/guides/france/working-in-france/starting-a-business/intro/ ). Whilst these are great places to start, there always seems to be something new coming along that will affect small businesses. And, as with so many rules and regulations in France, they can be applied with different force from region to region. As is so often the case, it’s not what you know but who you know.

Bars, Restaurants and Hotels

We have had a lot of involvement over the last few years with the catering industry in the south Charente. If you are interested in running a bar, restaurant or hotel in the area, we would be delighted to help you.

Do be advised, though, before you start, that the season is very busy, but very short – about ten weeks of the summer. You would need to have some very innovative ideas to get the local population to come to you out of season. That said, there are owners who have been very successful and are making a comfortable living from the catering industry. What they have in common is: experience; innovation and a good location.

What can we do to help you? We could be useful to you at every stage of the process:

  • Finding and researching the right premises
  • Negotiating the purchase of the business and / or premises
  • Talking to the right authorities with you
  • Finding the right accountants and other professional people for you
  • Liaising with fitters and other trades people
  • Finding and organising suppliers
  • Recruiting and interviewing staff
  • Organising the right type of staff contracts
  • Advertising and marketing your business

And we’ll be here if you just want to kick a few ideas around, too. (Since we’re neither lawyers nor accountants we don’t charge you for every minute we spend talking to you!)

Can we help you?

Whatever your business or experience or start-up capital, we know where to look and who to ask, to help you get your business in the Charente off to a flying start.

Tell us what you're looking for in the form below and we'll let you know what we can find for you...


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