From the French Riviera, where he is Honorary Consul of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for the Alpes Maritimes and Hautes Alpes, Cyril Dary promotes the development of business based on eco-technologies. In his view, Luxembourg has many assets to enable startups active in this area to make a sustainable impact.
What is your role for Team Côte d’Azur?
My role is to promote the French Riviera abroad as a center for businesses in the eco-technologies or “CleanTech” sector, as well as in the services sector in a more broad sense, and to support innovative businesses in the territory. Our services help companies set up R&D centers, engineering offices – for example, in the smart grid and renewable energy sector – headquarters, training centers or customer support centers, which are also called “call centers.” I also put a lot of energy into organizing the international Innovative City forum, which is held annually in Nice every June and is dedicated to topics concerning sustainable, intelligent and connected cities. I also had the honor and the pleasure to welcome a significant delegation of business leaders from Luxembourg led by the Secretary of State for the Economy and S.E.M. Ambassador.
In recent years, Luxembourg has moved from being the 6th largest investor on the French Riviera to being the 4th, especially in the high-tech field of health and environment.
And how would you describe your role for Luxembourg in the area?
I am the Honorary Consul to the eastern part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. In this context, my primary mission is to offer assistance to citizens of Luxembourg who are in my district. This also helps strengthen and develop economic relations, as well as tourism and culture exchange, between the Grand Duchy and the PACA region. In recent years, Luxembourg has moved from being the 6th largest investor on the French Riviera to being the 4th, especially in the high-tech field of health and environment. I am currently working to help implement new Luxembourg projects in this region.
You are an expert in CleanTech. Could you tell us what is behind this concept?
This is a very broad concept, which includes all technological innovations and services aimed at preserving the environment. This includes products and services in the field of renewable energies, the mastery of energy consumption (otherwise known as energy efficiency), as well as innovations in the areas of water, air, noise, soil and waste.
The “Smart City” sector is really on a roll. It covers a lot of areas including energy production from renewable energy sources, responsible consumerism, energy storage and sustainable mobility.
Is CleanTech a priority for Luxembourg?
This is a sector of the economy that is growing dramatically in recent years worldwide, with a potential to create lots of jobs. It is still hard to quantify exactly how many jobs, but the number looks very promising. The Grand Duchy has deep interests to develop this sector, as well as the strengths to support its development.
What are the major trends and those sectors emerging in this area?
In general, I’ve been observing a concentration in the industry due to many mergers and acquisitions. The major players tend to absorb smaller ones and startups. In terms of growing sectors, the “Smart City” sector is really on a roll. It covers a lot of areas including energy production from renewable energy sources, responsible consumerism, energy storage and sustainable mobility.
What startups (Franco-)Luxembourgish now innovate in this area?
Off the top of my head, for Luxembourg, I would cite Apateq, a specialist in water treatment processes and wastewater. It has once again distinguished itself by making it into the Top 100 Best Global CleanTech companies in 2015. On the French Riviera, Ignilife, a startup created in Luxembourg and that has just settled in the biggest technology park in Europe in Sophia Antipolis, has developed an e-health prevention application. There’s also the French biotechnology group Eurofins, headquartered in Luxembourg, which has installed a hydrological laboratory in Grasse near its fine chemicals consumers.
The country has all the resources to develop new sectors including CleanTech.
Do you think CleanTech is a promising sector for Luxembourg?
The Grand Duchy has many advantages for the development of CleanTech locally: a renowned IT sector with a reliable and powerful internet network, many data centers, quality infrastructure, its international airport, motorway and rail network, which all centrally position the country in Europe and place it near decision-making centers, and a highly international environment. The country has all the resources to develop new sectors including CleanTech.
In which specific areas of CleanTech should Luxembourg innovate/invest?
One is the area of Smart Buildings considering the innovative players in Luxembourg such as Neobuild, and the national excellence rewarded at the margins of COP 21 with three exemplary buildings awarded. I also would say eco-design, which today can be extended and generalized to the systemic circular economy. The Luxembourg Government is highly interested in it and its eco-innovation cluster widely promotes this sector. These are two sectors, among others, in which Luxembourg has a major role to play and their development is expected to create value-added jobs.