The French government’s incentive to attract foreign entrepreneurs seems to be working. The program - called the French Tech Ticket - has attracted thousands of business people from around the world who want to set up a company in Paris.

The scheme was launched back in May and promised successful applicants funding of €12,500 for six months; fast-tracking to obtain a French residence visa; free office space in a startup incubator that provides training, mentors and business networks; help with French paperwork with an English-speaking advisor; and the nice little bonus of reduced Air France fares and a chance to advertise with the company.

The program was particularly aimed at students who wanted to get the ball rolling on launching their startups while completing their education. Over 5,000 hopefuls from over 90 countries expressed an interest, with just over 722 startups making the grade for selection. Each startup had to be made up of one to three founding members with a maximum of one French citizen per team. Another stipulation is that the founders would need to also speak English and live for at least six months in France. The winners would also receive a ‘landing pack’ – a guide to living and working in Paris with help relocating to the French capital.

The successful applicants are currently going through more pre-selection rounds where they will be whittled down to 500. Then a panel of experts have the hard job of choosing just 70 of those startups. Following a round of Skype interviews, the winning 50 will be chosen, ready to arrive in Paris to start work in January 2016.

Axelle Lemaire, France’s Minister of State for Digital Affairs, launched the program on the back of the buzz around the Paris startup scene - frequently called the “French Startup Republic”. The international success of French tech startups such as Blablacar, Deezer and Criteo means Paris has been dubbed the number one capital in the world for innovation and tech startups.

Related article: How to start a business in France in 8 easy steps

New applicants will be sought for the visa program in 2016 and there are hopes to expand the program to other regions around France.

For more information, contact the French Tech Ticket website on http://www.frenchtechticket.paris/. If you need a quicker and more direct way of launching your startup, you can download the free guide below and either contact the bilingual Euro Start Entreprises team in Paris on 0033 (0) 1 53 57 49 10 or email us through our contact page to receive help with French company formation, business bank accounts, office space, registered addresses and accounting services.

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