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, more than ever at the service of Luxembourg companies, whatever their size, to support them in their innovation efforts.
In the spring of 2018, Mario Grotz became Chairman of the Management Board and Sasha Baillie took up the position of CEO of Luxinnovation. Together, they developed a strategic framework for the agency, ensuring that the companies served and their needs remained at the centre of its actions. This approach is in line with the one initiated by the previous management team and extends the government strategy implemented by the Ministry of the Economy.
"We find pragmatic solutions for companies and 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," explains Mario Grotz, who also heads the Research, Intellectual Property and New Technologies Directorate General (DG 7) of the Ministry of the Economy "The impressive work done in 2018 clearly shows that Luxinnovation is and will remain an essential driver of innovation and economic success in the country."
As a result, in 2018, nearly 700 business contacts were organised by Luxinnovation and more than 220 companies received tailor-made and individualised support. Those intense efforts drove the launch of more than 50 R&D projects (compared to 38 in 2017).
The "Fit 4" performance programmes have been increasingly successful, in particular Fit 4 Digital, aimed at SMEs wishing to take advantage of information and communication technologies to improve their competitiveness. No less than 88 cases were processed in 2018 (compared to 11 in 2017).
The Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Lex Delles, confirms: "Digitalisation and innovation present many opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in the craft sector. Luxinnovation supports SMEs with innovative projects and supports companies that launch digitalisation initiatives. These companies are, as a result, able to remain more competitive thanks to innovation and to develop in a rapidly changing environment."
In addition to supporting companies established in Luxembourg, Luxinnovation also plays a key role in promoting Luxembourg's economy abroad and in prospection, in close collaboration with the Ministry of the Economy and the Chamber of Commerce. In 2018, the efforts paid off, with no less than 12 new international companies choosing to establish themselves in the Grand Duchy, with the support of Luxinnovation.
All this in-depth work was supported and accompanied by the agency's Market Intelligence (MI) team. In addition to its targeted research activities to identify potential partners and better organise prospecting missions, with the support of the Luxembourg network of Trade & Invest Offices, the MI team has also drawn up detailed mapping of some key-sectors of the Luxembourg economy, enabling a better understanding of their general structure and the challenges they face.
Working alongside companies
In 2018, Luxinnovation also stepped up its support to Luxembourg organisations applying for funding under the EU's Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020. The expertise provided by the agency made it possible to sign 73 new contracts (compared with 51 in 2017) and to obtain the record amount of 33 million euros in financing (compared with 20 million in 2017). With a success rate of 23.7% for Horizon 2020 projects in 2018, Luxembourg even ranks first in the European Union (EU average: 17.75%).
On a national level, Luxinnovation assisted 97 companies (two thirds of them SMEs) with their requests for financing from the Ministry of the Economy, in particular under the aid schemes of the law of 17 May 2017 related to the promotion of research, development and innovation.
The Fit 4 Start acceleration programme continued its development, both with local and international start-ups: nearly half of the 400 applications received for the two sessions (spring and autumn) came from Luxembourg, the other half being spread over 54 different countries. In the end, 25 start-ups were selected to follow a 16-week coaching programme and have potential access to financial assistance from the Ministry of the Economy up to 150,000 euros.
"The complementary skills and cultures of our teams uniquely position us to provide holistic support for innovation initiatives," said Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation. "Together, we will continue to help companies to innovate and prepare for the challenges of the future."
The annual report is available on the Luxinnovation website.
Press release of the Ministry of Economy/ Luxinnovation