L-R: Fernand Ernster, Chamber of Commerce; VdL Alderman Maurice Bauer; Philippe Linster, House of Startups; Economy Minister Franz Fayot; Labour Minister Georges Engel; Carlo Thill, House of Startups; Carlo Thelen, Chamber of Commerce; Credit: House of Startups

On Monday 17 January 2022, Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, and the Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, Georges Engel, visited the House of Startups in Luxembourg-Gare.

During this visit, the two ministers met with Carlo Thill, President of the House of Startups, as well as Fernand Ernster, Vice-President of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Maurice Bauer, Alderman of the City of Luxembourg (Ville de Luxembourg - VdL), and Philippe Linster, CEO of the House of Startups.

Inaugurated in June 2018, the House of Startups can accommodate between 150 and 200 startups on nearly 6,000 m2 of surface area. The Chamber of Commerce set up this infrastructure with the aim of federating and supporting the startup ecosystem in Luxembourg. The House of Startups brings together under one roof several innovation centres, incubators, business accelerators and startup advisors, including the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), which is dedicated to fintech, the Luxembourg-City Incubator (LCI), Le Village by CA, the international incubator of the Crédit Agricole group, as well as the International Climate Finance Accelerator (ICFA).

The visit began with the LCI, founded by the Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of Luxembourg. Its manager Bastien Berg, supported by alderman Maurice Bauer, presented the acceleration programme and its missions. Ministers Fayot and Engel were particularly interested in the pitches of startups No Big Deal, Vingineers, Waves, GreenWorlder and Zorfitfy, and interacted with the founders. These startups have been selected for the Fit4Start acceleration programme or identified as young innovative companies. True to custom, the ministers signed one of the totems of the co-working space to mark their visit.

This was followed by a presentation by Vanessa Schummer, head of the MeSIS house of social economy and social innovation, which has been located in the LCI since October 2021. Set up in October 2018 on the initiative of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, MeSIS brings together all those interested in the social and solidarity economy, social innovation and more broadly in social entrepreneurship and societal impact companies (sociétés d'impact sociétal - SIS). Currently, the centre supports five startups: Youth&Work, A-Prendre, Art Square Lab, KnowthyBrand Women and Touchpoints.

The ministerial visit continued with an exchange with Amélie Madinier, CEO of Le Village by CA, and a presentation of the startups Firis and Anote Music, which are both hosted at Le Village by CA.

The ministers then met with Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT, and discovered the “Fintech made in Luxembourg” spaces. They also exchanged with fintechs digitalUS and Koosmik.

At the end of the visit, Economy Minister Franz Fayot, said: “Luxembourg's startup ecosystem has grown steadily over the past few years and now includes more than 500 startups. The development of the ecosystem has been supported by the implementation of structuring initiatives such as public aid for young innovative companies, the Fit4Start acceleration programme or the Digital Tech Fund. The House of Startups is a key infrastructure that effectively complements the range of services and support programmes offered to startups, in particular by Luxinnovation and my services at the Ministry of the Economy”.

Labour Minister Georges Engel added: "Since its opening in 2018, the MeSIS has been the place of reference and exchange for all those interested in social and solidarity economy. The single window was able to support budding social entrepreneurs and thus contribute to the creation of 40 social impact companies. The co-working space regularly hosts startups from the social and solidarity economy, which will allow us in the medium term to promote the social and solidarity economy in general, social entrepreneurship and the society of societal impact in particular . In a global context and in the face of current social and climatic challenges, the social and solidarity economy also has its role to play".

Carlo Thill was particularly proud that the House of Startups now brings together more than 170 startups from very diverse sectors. He said: “Despite the current crisis, I am proud to note that many entrepreneurs have mobilised to develop projects with high added value. This highlights their dynamism and resilience. They are representative of a vision of innovation that combines both the present and the future in Luxembourg”.

No Big Deal co-founders Daniel Klemetz and Nigel Bergstra; Credit: House of Startups