Located in Belval and led by CEO Diego De Biasio, the Technoport supports startups as a business incubator, fabrication laboratory (fab lab) and coworking space. Indeed, within entrepreneur and investor circles in Luxembourg and the Greater Region, the Technoport is well known as the location of many of Luxembourg’s most innovative technology startups. But where did the Technoport come from? How long has it been supporting Luxembourg’s startup ecosystem?
Silicon Luxembourg braved the construction zones in Belval to find out more about the Technoport: past, present and future.
In 1998, CRP Henri Tudor launched the Technoport as a temporary three-year project to support and link entrepreneurship with public research activity in the country. However, over the three years, there was a feeling that the initiative had been a great success. This feeling was verified by an external evaluation that exhibited very positive results. Thus, the decision was made to continue with the Technoport venture.
In 2012, Technport officially became a limited company…
In 2001, current Technoport CEO Diego De Biasio joined the initiative. At this time, the program was still part of CRP Henri Tudor and its financing was linked directly to the research center. In essence, its main goal was to support innovative technologies, but it still had not reached its full potential. For example, the Technoport only had 1000 square meter of space, so it could not be as significant a part of the startup ecosystem as it wanted.
However, as the years passed, support for entrepreneurial activity continued to grow. Many in both the private and public sectors knew it would be a very beneficial way to diversify Luxembourg’s economy. Thus, the time came to make a bold statement that the country was serious about supporting the startup ecosystem and its growth over the foreseeable future. In 2012, Technport officially became a limited company with the Ministry of the Economy (75%) and SNCI (25%) as its two shareholders. This was a critical step in the Technoport’s growth moving forward.
Since the Technoport’s move to a limited company, it has seen unprecedented growth. Today, the Technoport has a beautiful 4,000 square meter complex in Belval and a large 8,000 square meter facility in Foetz, which offers space for more industrial-type entrepreneurship. With the additional space in Belval, the Technoport was able to expand its offerings and develop a fabrication laboratory (fab lab) and a coworking space in addition to its business incubator. In fact, the fab lab is the only one in Luxembourg. This helps to differentiate the Technoport from its peers and draws entrepreneurs interested in physical goods, for example, instead of technology to its premises.
Perhaps what the Technoport is best known for today is its business incubator, which offers two different services – a pre-commercial program and a startup phase program. The pre-commercial program allows entrepreneurs to receive support on their business plans. This is a free service for four months within the coworking space and is meant to help startups get to the market quicker. If a startup then wants to join the startup phase program, an external committee of three to four people reviews its business plan. If accepted, the venture receives office space in the Technoport’s business incubator and generally stays for three to four years, on average. Each startup pays a monthly fee for the office space and guidance from the Technoport network. As a new venture to the Luxembourg startup ecosystem, such advice and support becomes invaluable.
Since the very beginning of the startup movement in Luxembourg, the Technoport has been there to support and foster entrepreneurial activity.
Currently, the Technoport also holds numerous events, including the very popular Startup Weekend. This event draws people of all ages and backgrounds to the Technoport in order to compete in an intensive weekend entrepreneurship contest. People come from Luxembourg, the Greater Region and even further away just for this event, and it has been a huge success to date.
Since the very beginning of the startup movement in Luxembourg, the Technoport has been there to support and foster entrepreneurial activity. As the University of Luxembourg begins to move to its Belval campus over the next year, more qualified and entrepreneurial thinkers will be present in and around the Technoport. This will likely lead to a more structured coworking space at the Technoport and even more disruptive technologies and great startups coming out of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg’s startup ecosystem is rapidly growing, and the Technoport will continue to play a significant role in making the Grand Duchy one of the best entrepreneurship hubs in Europe.