In 2016, ten of the most promising startups out of a total number of 230 applicants from around the world graduated from Fit 4 Start* , an acceleration programme that was initiated by Luxinnovation and the Ministry of the Economy. While these figures illustrate the attractiveness of Luxembourg as a startup hub, they do not convey the whole picture. In fact, if we take account of every entrepreneur who turned to Luxinnovation in 2016 to discuss their innovative plans and projects, we come closer to the 700-mark.
(Featured Image – Sitting: Valentin Rangoni (trainee), Claudine Bettendroffer (Startup Advisor), Jean-Michel Ludwig (Director Startup Support & SME Performance) – Standing: Stefan Berend (Startup Advisor), Laurence Hulin (Startup Advisor), Antoine Hron (Head of Startup Support) / Image Credit: Luxinnovation)
Attracting startups to Luxembourg
Luxinnovation has recently seen its mission enlarged by the Ministry of the Economy in order to promote Luxembourg as a European hub for high-performance businesses and economic activities. The country is stepping up its efforts to attract foreign direct investment in a variety of fields (ICT, Automotive, Space, Manufacturing, and Cleantech to name but a few). This sector-driven approach will be complemented with actions aiming to attract new disruptive businesses in numerous areas (Fintech Regtech, Data-analytics…). In this context, the “Fit 4 Start” programme could be considered as a “pilot initiative” to attract new ICT business. Launched by Luxinnovation in 2015, it successfully contributes to the visibility of Luxembourg on the international startup scene.
Ensuring the best possible offer for startups
The national startup ecosystem has undergone considerable change over the last few years thanks to a continuous stream of new and complementary initiatives as we evolve in terms of sophistication and responsiveness. What we see is an increasingly concrete and broad offering being extended to startups by our public and private partners and we also see this as a real positive because it allows us to further hone our skills and focus on what we do best. Achieving market validation through Luxinnovation sector developers and cluster managers** is a significant advantage. It allows entrepreneurs to become more comfortable with their projects and in turn enables them to approach banks and investors with greater confidence due to the verified scientific value and the technical readiness of their projects. Additionally, the long-standing expertise of Luxinnovation in accessing public grants constitutes another of Luxinnovation’s many strengths. By combining this expertise with deep knowledge on private equity and private loans, entrepreneurs can optimise their financial roadmap and avoid premature dilution.
Ambitions for the future
Luxinnovation already contributes to the vast majority of startup incorporation in Luxembourg. Nevertheless, no local startups should be off the agency’s radar so that they can benefit from this public service. Considering the growing number of projects, Luxinnovation won’t be able to absorb the total deal flow without closely working with the local players. This is precisely why, in 2017, we has started to formalise collaborations with all of the local private and public incubators and accelerators so as to optimise our combined efforts and offer the maximum added value to entrepreneurs because ultimately that is everyone’s shared goal.