The Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ILCC) was founded in 2012; this year it is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Chronicle.lu reached out to Joe Huggard, ILCC Chairman, and asked him about the chamber, its origins and activities, as well as looking ahead.
Chronicle.lu: How was the ILCC formed and what are its main aims?
Joe Huggard: Firstly, the fact that the chamber has been in existence for more than ten years and I believe has served its members well is down to its hard-working and effective committee whose members give their time to making it a success. All credit belongs to them.
The Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce came into being in 2012 from an initiative of the then Irish Ambassador Diarmuid O'Leary who saw a role for a bilateral chamber to link Ireland and Luxembourg at a point when Ireland was still recovering from the financial crisis. As a bilateral chamber, it does not seek to engage on representing its members interests to the Government in Luxembourg. This is extremely well-addressed by other chambers. The Chamber's focus has been on organising networking events that have attracted a diverse audience, drawn from both the international and Luxembourg communities with a view to encouraging and facilitating that interaction. It is our belief, based on the feedback from our audiences and members, that we have been successful in this regard.
Chronicle.lu: Which business sectors do ILCC members represent, and do you offer different types of membership?
Joe Huggard: Our membership is a mixture of corporate, small company and individual membership and we work hard to maintain this mix as it is where we get our ideas and feedback. Our membership comes from a diverse background ranging from technology to financial services and law.
Chronicle.lu: How has the ILCC evolved over the past ten years?
Joe Huggard: Over the years, there have been two factors that have shaped how we developed. Firstly, we have developed a focus on organising what we believe are interesting events where we developed topics that we believe will stimulate interest and discussion. I am particularly fond of the series which we have loosely called "The Business of…" in which we have looked at the business aspects of topics from football and rugby through charities to restaurants and aviation; we also have Irish government ministers to address our members from time to time when they are in Luxembourg for EU meetings and their schedule allows. The other factor has been the impact of COVID-19 and the need to integrate virtual events into our calendar. Given the importance of networking often carried out over a glass of crémant, this has been a challenge and we are delighted to be back to "live" events.
Chronicle.lu: This year, the Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ILCC) is celebrating its 10th anniversary; what is the chamber doing to celebrate this?
Joe Huggard: For our five-year anniversary, we had a summer event. However, we had a rather crowded calendar for the first half of 2022 with four events. In the run-up to Christmas, the ILCC normally has a members-only event and we see this as the ideal opportunity to recognise that the Chamber has been going for ten years.
Recently, in collaboration with the well-established British & Irish Film Festival Luxembourg (BIFFL) - one of the various other Irish organisations here in Luxembourg with which we collaborate from time to time - we held an event on the topic of "The Business of... Film Production" with guest speaker Siun Ni Raghallaigh, the former CEO of Ardmore Studios in Bray, Co Wicklow, and the former MD [managing director] of TG4, the Irish-language broadcaster. That was a wonderful event, with a great turn-out, with a reception following the formal end to the evening (which had started with the screening of an Irish-language film Foscadh).
Chronicle.lu: Looking ahead, what would you like the ILCC to be doing / aiming for over the next few years?
Joe Huggard: Looking forward, we feel that we must stay cognisant of the rapidly-changing nature of the business environment and are confident that we can adapt as required. However, we will stay focussed on our core objective which is to provide our members with interesting and stimulating events that are worthwhile to attend. There they can discuss business with others in an Ireland-Luxembourg context. The effort that the ILCC Committee puts into selecting topics, speakers and panellists has paid off in the past and we are committed to continuing this.