On Wednesday 12 July 2023, Luxembourg's Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Lex Delles, presented the 2022 report of the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The 2022 report showed a reduction in the processing time for business permit applications and applications from foreign service providers for occasional services, to an average of 6.93 days, compared to 8.6 days in 2021 and 9.8 days in 2020.
The report also showed a stabilisation of business permit applications at last year's record level; there were 12,566 applications in 2022, compared to 12,580 in 2021 and 11,245 in 2020. 60.4% of requests concerned the trade sector (64.2% in 2021), 34% concerned the craft sector (31.2% in 2021) and 5.6% were related to a liberal profession ( 4.6% in 2021).
There was also a similar number of pre-registration certificates, required for the activities of cross-border craft businesses which are not established in Luxembourg but provide services there, as in previous years. The General Directorate for SMEs issued 4,851 such certificates in 2022, compared to 4,897 in 2021 and 4,663 in 2020.
Regarding traditional state aid, namely investment aid, the "Fit 4 Digital" programme and the "SME Packages", the number of applications increased to 1,387 in 2022 (1,204 applications in 2021). However, the amounts granted decreased, from €21,846,431 in 2021 to €17,534,873 in 2022. The General Directorate for SMEs attributed this decrease to the fact that most of the aid applications submitted in 2022 concerned minor investments, as opposed to mostly applications for aid for major investments in 2021 in the context of the "Neistart Lëtzebuerg" aid programme (during the COVID-19 pandemic).
The General Directorate for SMEs also noted that the gradual phasing out of temporary support measures in the context of the pandemic, namely aid for uncovered costs and recovery aid, had begun in 2022. The General Directorate for SMEs has paid out €48.5 million in this context (€19,725,541 for aid for uncovered costs and €28,850,018 for recovery aid). Added to this is the aid scheme for medium-sized energy-consuming enterprises, which was introduced at the end of October 2022 in the context of rising energy prices caused by Russia's aggression against Ukraine; the general directorate paid out €2,665,944 under this aid scheme.
Minister Delles highlighted that "the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises seeks to stimulate the spirit of enterprise and create a framework conducive to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. In this context, I am particularly pleased with the reduction in the processing time for business permit applications, which strengthens the competitiveness and attractiveness of the Luxembourg economic market. The high level of applications for business permits also underlines the dynamic nature of the SME sector. The General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises will continue to ensure efficient support for SMEs, in particular by maintaining the efficiency and speed of its work."