In focus: Some policies, schemes and initiatives available for entrepreneurs in Luxembourg
Luxembourg is famous for its cultural diversity, amazing ancient architecture and the country is globally recognized as an economic powerhouse within Europe.
Looking at entrepreneurial framework conditions, in 2021, Luxembourg was one of only two GEM economies (with Switzerland) to have a higher rate of early-stage entrepreneurial activity in the business services sector, as opposed to the consumer services sector.
The government is increasingly keen to attract entrepreneurs to Luxembourg as well as to nurture entrepreneurial ambitions among the country’s residents. Consequently, it is providing financial incentives and other forms of assistance to encourage them too.
The entrepreneurial culture got a boost by the online magazine Silicon Luxembourg, which publishes success stories of start-ups, special features on entrepreneurial individuals, including women and people with disabilities – all in Luxembourg. Another point to note is that media attention on entrepreneurship is generally high and there is a positive discourse on entrepreneurship.
Here are some initiatives and schemes offered to women entrepreneurs in Luxembourg.
> Incentives & assistance to boost Luxembourg entrepreneurs
Trying to attract entrepreneurs, the government is trying to give support to general business support, loans, grants; and other types of funding may be available for specific projects to help small businesses.
Certain types of business are targeted, and in order to diversify the country’s economy and develop areas other than financial services (as well as to support goals such as improving the country’s climate footprint), the government prioritizes sectors such as IT and other technological development, environmental protection and energy efficiency.
And, both the House of Entrepreneurship information centre within the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the government-backed guichet.lu information portal – provide useful information on creating a company and the support available to entrepreneurs.
> Incubators and business support
The Business Mentoring scheme launched by the Chamber of Commerce and the Luxembourg Business Angel Network also offer founders’ assistance – in setting up and developing their companies.
The business plan competition – Impuls, organised by the chamber’s start-up consultancy Nyuko offers smaller companies in Luxembourg (as well as the surrounding regions in Belgium, France and Germany) the opportunity to draw on the wisdom of experienced entrepreneurs to help develop their businesses.
Now, Luxembourg has a range of business incubators that aid start-up companies. They help by providing services such as management training or office and co-working spaces. They vary according to the type of business they specialize in: the PwC Accelerator, for example, helps small businesses expand internationally, while Paul WurthInCub specialises in industrial technology and the House of Biohealth supportsbiotech, IT and cleantech companies.
More incubators are emerging as the technology sector flourishes in Luxembourg. The Technoport in Belval was launched almost two decades ago by a public research centre; one of the latest is the Luxembourg City Incubator, a joint venture between the Chamber of Commerce and the capital’s municipal administration that will share premises with Nyuko and the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology.
> Initiatives – Female Board Pool; the “Inspiring Women Business Club”, Women’s Labour Committee
Opportunities for social capital development and exchange for women-only groups are well developed. There is considerable media attention given to the activities of women.
Some private initiatives and organizations engaging in promotional campaigns and providing role model or success stories are -the Female Board Pool; the “Inspiring Women Business Club” (promoting women’s visibility in the media, providing role models and experience-sharing, conferences and a dining club), and the Women’s Labour Committee, a consultative body promoting governmental activity, training and professional advancement of women.
> Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, The Think Tank Equilibre, Female Founder Fellowship programme, NGOs
There are also networks to boost female entrepreneurship and business creation (i.e. Lux Pioneers) and a Women’s Entrepreneurship Day too, which celebrates women startup leaders that innovate and create jobs. Various Chambers such as the American chamber host network events to promote entrepreneurship and women success stories. The Think Tank Equilibre operates to promote and research on gender gender equality in work, including mappings of the on start-up ecosystem in Luxembourg and a study on women entrepreneurs. It provides support to women entrepreneurs through the Female Founder Fellowship programme developed in collaboration with the Founder Institute.
Additionally, the not-for-profit association Federation des Femmes CheffesD’Entreprises promotes female leaders, provides training, conferences and support for network expansion. It also seeks to influence those in power – to pass laws encouraging female entrepreneurship. Other not-for-profit organisations and informal networks such as FémininPluriel, the Female Ambassadors grouping, the Nordic Women Entrepreneurship sub unit, and “Mumpreneurs” also provide platforms for networking and knowledge sharing for women entrepreneurs.
A number of initiatives also focus on boosting the contribution of women in technology
(i.e. the WIDE initiative that supports female entrepreneurs in tech through its start-up
leadership programmes and runs a number of other initiatives supporting women and
girls in tech and digital activities, including the “girls in digital” programmes). The Geek
Girl’s Carrot alsoEquilibre, a think tank dedicated to harnessing the economic potential
of diversity in Luxembourg and promote gender equality, was also launched in 2017,
which promotes women in IT along with Girls in Tech Luxembourg (Tech, global NGO,
engagement, education and empowerment of women in technology).
> Support for Entrepreneurship – House of Entrepreneurship, the House of Start-Ups, the Chamber of Commerce, the Luxembourg School for Commerce, LuxInnovation and the Chamber of Crafts
The majority of entrepreneurship training, coaching, mentoring and skills schemes are designed for, and open to, all entrepreneurs. This generic entrepreneurship support is provided by various public and semipublic entities (such as the House of Entrepreneurship, the House of Start-Ups, the Chamber of Commerce, the Luxembourg School for Commerce, LuxInnovation and the Chamber of Crafts) as well as non- governmental associations, networks and agencies that have particular interests (i.e. micro finance, craft industries or the social economy).
Non-tailored skills support includes personalized advice for business creation as well as assistance in the application process to obtain a business permit and group advice sessions (i.e. through the House of Entrepreneurship. Overall, the offering is well- developed with clear differentiation of functions between actors and schemes, with the House of Entrepreneurship providing information, consultancy and workshops as well as other services such as mentoring, support for digitalisation and a viability centre which assesses bankruptcy risks.
The Business Mentoring programme is another programme that provides support for businesses that seek growth. Another notable provider of support is Nyuko, which helps entrepreneurs from the ideation phase. A wide range of public and private incubators and co working spaces (i.e. Wishbox, The Office) also contribute extensively to the eco- system providing infrastructure and support for all entrepreneurs.
>Policies for disability
Luxembourg takes a mainstreaming approach when it comes to disability policies. This takes into account that all measures to foster employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship are equally accessible to people with and without disabilities.
There are, however, various events and success stories connected to the objectives of The Diversity Charter. In addition, there are anecdotal opportunities for networking and social capital creation (e.g. JobDating events, DuoDays). Although not directly supporting entrepreneurship, InfoHandicap helps by providing information and guidance for persons with disabilities and members of their families, helping them to find their way through complex administrative procedures.
The only funding opportunities explicitly aimed at persons with a disability is the Business Creation Aids The Diversity Charter also provides some limited funding related to people with disabilities.
> Financing backing
The Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade offers financial aid specifically for young innovative businesses, providing details of the different kinds of funding, offered to small businesses as well as grants available for entrepreneurs.
Luxinnovation, the national agency for innovation and research, helps channel funding for smaller businesses; it also oversees an accelerator programme that enables four technology-based start-ups a year to spend three months at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley to develop US contacts and customers. This aid is intended for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) holding a business permit granted by the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Direction générale des Classes moyennes) and which are not active in any excluded activity in accordance with the general terms and conditions applying to aid for SMEs.
Plus, start-ups in Luxembourg can also benefit from European Union initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship and the development of small businesses. The EU has a range of programmes including networking and exchanges as well as grants and loans that can help with start-up or research costs.
> Financial aids for entrepreneurs in Luxembourg
Given here is a list of aids that you can apply for if you are starting a business. Do not hesitate to contact each of the organizations listed directly in order to obtain more detailed information based on your situation and your field of activity!