Moving your business to France? - Locate to Lyon

May 2017

Russell Bedford member Pyramide Conseils was one of the first companies to relocate to the newly opened Greenopolis business park in Lyon. Business World magazine met with managing partners Ludovic Riboulon and Stéphane Mottet to hear about their move and why Lyon presents an attractive option for businesses considering moving to France.

Business World: Pyramide Conseils has been operating in Lyon for almost 30 years. What has kept you so loyal to the city?

Ludovic Riboulon: Yes, Pyramide Conseils was founded in Lyon in 1989, and we specialise in tax, accounting and business consulting. Lyon is considered to be one of the most business-friendly cities in France, and we can vouch for that.

The city has long been a great choice for growing businesses and start-ups alike, encouraged by the economic development agency for the Lyon area, ADERLY. Lyon has seen dozens of companies setting up or expanding their existing offices in the last few years. And with no signs of this investment slowing down, of course we’re going to remain loyal to our home city.

BW: What is it about Lyon that makes it a good choice for a business?

Stéphane Mottet: I think first and foremost its location is perfect. It’s well-connected to other European major cities by main transport links, including Lyon-Saint Exupéry International Airport, which is only 20 minutes away by car or express tramway. So access to Europe’s most important business centres is quick and convenient, and as a result, Lyon is a strategic choice for doing business in Europe. And travel in the city, using our modern public transport system, is very easy and stress-free in comparison with other European cities.

The city is also listed on the UNESCO world heritage register and is well-located for accessing some of the world’s top ski-resorts in the Alps and exploring the many historical treasures of the Auverge-Rhône-Alpes region.

Lyon is also home to several universities, making it a popular choice for potential graduate recruits.

BW: How does Lyon manage to compete with bigger, more widely known cities, in terms of talent acquisition and retention?

LR: Some might forget that Lyon is, in fact, the second largest metropolitan area in France, after Paris. We have a population of almost two million. We’re very proud of our rich cultural and culinary traditions and we’re not afraid of being over-shadowed by Paris. Lyon offers just as much for attracting and retaining employees without some of the drawbacks!

BW: How does France compare with other European countries in terms of attracting business?

SM: France currently ranks as the sixth largest export economy in the world – a clear frontrunner in an increasingly globalised market. We also rank 29 out of 190 economies, above the European average, for ease of starting a business in the 2017 World Bank Doing Business report. I think these results have definitely been helped by government measures to streamline procedures and reduce the time it takes to start a business. These rankings, as well as the ease of trading across borders, combine to make France a very appealing location for any business.

BW: What are the incentives, tax or other, associated with locating a business in France, and particularly Lyon?

LR: In the last few years, France has implemented several legislative reforms to reduce corporate income tax and labour tax rates paid by employers. On top of this, tax savings of up to 33% are available for Research and Development for businesses in France. The government are certainly doing their part in terms of making France a more attractive place to do business and there are some excellent opportunities for companies to consider.

BW: Why did you choose the Greenopolis business park as a business location?

SM: The emphasis on sustainable development appealed to our company values. Greenopolis was, in fact, built on a requalified brownfield site and includes office buildings, commercial amenities and a multi-storey car park. True to its name, the park has a lot of greenery and has carefully incorporated eco-materials and intelligent energy-management designs in the construction of its buildings.

It’s a great place to be and a great place to work, and our team at Pyramide Conseils are all very proud to be part of a project that is working towards improving our world and of course, the city of Lyon.

The Greenopolis business park also offers many other business incentives including a land tax freeze for up to 10 years – this could amount to a saving of up to €18,663 based on renting an office with a minimum of one employee.

We believe that Greenopolis is a great opportunity for businesses. This belief led us to establishing a business centre, DMCI, where businesses can rent offices and co-working spaces.

BW: Any final thoughts?

LR: Business relocation is an important decision that can have a lasting impact on the future of a business and its capacity for growth. Investing in expert, local advice or not, can be the difference between a good business move and a bad one. The World Bank’s ‘Doing business in France’ guide is an excellent starting point for any company considering moving their business to France and a highly recommended read for familiarising yourself with what to consider before relocating.

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