Luxinnovation, the national agency for the promotion of innovation, has just published its annual report for 2018, a year marked by the refinement of the agency's general strategy to better support Luxembourg companies in their innovative initiatives.
In the spring of 2018, Mario Grotz became Chairman of the Management Board and Sasha Baillie took the position of CEO of Luxinnovation. Together, they have developed a strategic framework for the agency, aimed at ensuring that the companies served and their needs remain at the centre of its actions. This approach is in line with the one initiated by the previous management team and is a continuation of the government strategy implemented by the Ministry of the Economy.
Mario Grotz, who is also Head of the Directorate-General for Research, Intellectual Property and New Technologies (DG 7) of the Ministry of the Economy, commented: "We find pragmatic solutions for companies and we support them in their innovative development projects, in line with the government's objectives of developing the Luxembourg economy in a sustainable way, through innovation and research."
Indeed, in 2018, Luxinnovation organised nearly 700 business meetings and offered tailor-made and individualised support to more than 220 companies. In addition, intense efforts led to the launch of more than 50 R&D projects (compared to 38 in 2017). In particular, the "Fit 4" performance programmes have been increasingly successful, especially Fit 4 Digital, aimed at SMEs wishing to take advantage of information and communication technologies in order to gain competitiveness. No fewer than 88 cases were processed in 2018 (compared to eleven in 2017).
The Fit 4 Start acceleration programme, for its part, continued its development with both local and international start-ups: almost half of the 400 applications received for the two sessions (spring and autumn) came from Luxembourg, the other half being distributed in 54 different countries. In the end, 25 start-ups were selected to follow a 16-week coaching programme and have potential access to financial aid from the Ministry of the Economy of up to €150,000.
In addition to supporting companies established in Luxembourg, Luxinnovation also plays a leading role in Luxembourg's economic promotion and image abroad, in close cooperation with the Ministry of the Economy and the Chamber of Commerce. In 2018, no less than twelve new international companies chose to establish themselves in the Grand Duchy, with the support of Luxinnovation. All this background work was supported and accompanied by the agency's Market Intelligence (MI) team.
Last year, Luxinnovation also stepped up its support for Luxembourg organisations seeking funding from the Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The expertise provided by the agency resulted in the signing of 73 new contracts. (compared to 51 in 2017) and the obtention of some €33 million of financing (compared to €20 million in 2017). With a success rate of Horizon 2020 projects of 23.7% in 2018, Luxembourg ranks first in the European Union (EU average: 17.75%)
At the national level, Luxinnovation supported 97 companies (two-thirds of which were SMEs) in their applications for financing from the Ministry of the Economy, in particular under the legal aid schemes of 17 May 2017 relating to the promotion of research, development and innovation.
The annual report can be downloaded from the Luxinnovation website: https://www.luxinnovation.lu/media/.