Undoubtedly there is something behind all this verbiage, but what, exactly? The article is not wholly devoid of statistics:
... 1.6 million of France’s 63 million citizens live outside the country. That is not a huge share, but it is up 60 percent from 2000 ...But what exactly do these numbers tell us? Other advanced economies also have many emissaries abroad. How many of these are actually young entrepreneurs seeking refuge from an oppressive welfare state, and how many are rather cadres of large French firms thriving in the regulated French economy and doing business abroad. After all, Axa is the world's largest insurance company; French banking sends many employees overseas; Airbus employs thousands of people throughout the world; etc. etc.
Yet the standard trope in these "French bashing lite" stories is, France is losing the cream of its jeunesse to the irresistible belle dame sans merci of the "Anglo-Saxon free market economies." Yet we are also told that "80 to 90 percent of all startups fail," and young M. Santacruz, around whom this article is built, seems destined for imminent failure himself, despite his dreams of emulating his successful friend with the mansion in the Luberon.
If France has real problems with fostering entrepreneurial culture, which I do not doubt, a more serious analysis is needed to pinpoint their nature. Otherwise, one might stack endless anecdotes about the likes of M. Santacruz against endless anecdotes about domestic entrepreneurial successes like M. Néel's (of Free--on which no small amount of journalistic ink has also been spilled). We still won't learn much about the strengths and weaknesses of the French political economy or its rivals.