ICT Spring is a global tech conference hosting an array of international professionals. Taking place from June 30 to July 1, it will feature talks on fintech, digital transformation, innovations in supply chain, the impacts of space technologies and much more. Charlotte Boutelier and Margaux Vetzel, organisers and Co-managing directors at Farvest take us through some of the highlights of this year’s exciting programme.
What is this year’s theme for ICT Spring and what is its aim?
Instead of one unifying theme, ICT Spring tackles multiple different sectors and aims to highlight the biggest trends in them, it highlights business innovation making the difference. When Farvest first created the event in 2010, it was completely dedicated to the financial and IT sector. However, now that Luxembourg’s ecosystem has significantly grown, we want to highlight the most innovative initiatives and show what Luxembourg has to offer. It is a cohesive event for the ICT community, generally speaking.
That’s why, this year, we have one fintech track, which talks about everything from DeFi to payment innovations and cryptocurrencies. We also have some special conferences dedicated to the metaverse, NFTs, Cloud Computing, and Cybersecurity. On the second day, we have some events completely dedicated to the local startup ecosystem, healthtech and the Luxembourgish space ecosystem. The aim of ICT Spring is to create synergies between different sectors and enable collaborations between businesses and countries. This is why we have also invited international delegations to join the events and we are therefore working closely with the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the ministry of the Economy among others.
More than 120 speakers are attending the event. Who should be on every entrepreneur’s list?
I’m the kind of person who thinks everybody should be on everyone’s list, they all come with their own background and experiences and we have a lot to learn from each other. However, I’d definitely recommend attending the main stage on 1 July as it is completely dedicated to “Empowering Tech Communities” from how incubators can boost financing and innovation, how to become a super-entrepreneur, what are VCs looking for and also how to export a business, and measure innovation. Over the two days, we welcome international guests including Mike Butcher, the editor-at-large of TechCrunch. He has very close relationships with the startup ecosystem and is also an advisor for many companies. He will also be giving a talk on the metaverse on the first day. On the second day, two astronauts will be speaking. These are always super inspirational so I would highly recommend them to any entrepreneur. Lastly, I would also recommend checking the talk from Sean Cleary’s talk, the president of Future World Foundation. He attends the G20 summit every year, has an amazing macroeconomic view and insight into how technologies are impacting today’s world. Tony Parker will also be part of our guest to talk about his career and the companies he invests in right now.
“Our motto is ‘Where business innovation makes a difference’. So we hope that the attendees can capitalise by meeting with some of the brightest and most inspirational people in business and innovation.”
Charlotte Boutelier and Margaux Vetzel, Co-managing directors of Farvest and organisers of ICT Spring
This is the first time you’re organising a fully physical event since 2019. What motivated you to do so?
When we launched a fully digital edition in 2020, it was a massive success. We were one of the few events which went ahead with their event and made it 100% digital. For us, it was important to ensure continuity and give struggling businesses the opportunity to connect with potential partners. However, last year, during our hybrid event we saw a decrease in engagement so this year we decided that we needed to change something. It will be our flop or hop year so we organised the biggest event we could with a great lineup of speakers and a new format, more exhibitors and outstanding immersive experiences.
This 13th edition includes for the first time an exhibition area with different thematic zones and a TV show where we interview speakers and representatives from the international delegations. Instead of the standard gala dinner, we have an ICT spring party with a DJ where people can still network. Furthermore, our workshop events are also new, with the help of tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Huawei they are really going to offer some exciting activities to the attendees. Lastly, our new president is the IT and finance director of the chamber of commerce which has helped us get access to more international delegates and will no doubt ensure the success of the event.
Which workshops would you recommend founders and entrepreneurs to check out?
Luxinnovation is hosting an HPC workshop so any entrepreneur working in big data is bound to learn something from this workshop. DEEP ecosystems is also hosting a workshop on how to check the health of an ecosystem and the requirements needed to be successful. They used to work with a lot of startups and their workshop is very interactive so I think it will be extremely interesting. Lastly, Google and SAP are also doing a workshop on some of their most widely used tools which cater both to smaller and larger companies.
What do you hope attendees take away from this year’s ICT Spring?
I hope the attendees create cross-sector synergies and that they take this special opportunity to learn and exchange with representatives from different sectors than their own. Our motto is ‘Where business innovation makes a difference’. So we hope that the attendees can capitalise by meeting with some of the brightest and most inspirational people in business and innovation. At the end of the day, we hope they learn something new and find new business connections they never thought of before which are beneficial to them.