Luxembourg: Europe’s trusted data hub for internationalisation (Sponsored)

Skyline of the Place de l'Europe in Luxembourg-Kierchbierg, Porte de l'Europe, and Philharmonie, Luxemburg

In our increasingly digital and data-driven world, there are three core pillars driving innovation that will shape the future: connectivity, cybersecurity and data. These are priority areas for accelerating the growth and development of Luxembourg’s international start-up community. We caught up with Stefan Berend, Head of Start-up Acceleration at national innovation agency Luxinnovation, to find out more. 

Photo par Marion Dessard

Luxembourg is famous for its high levels of economic activity and its prosperous business environment. How does this benefit startups? And what role do startups play in contributing to this?

Luxembourg is indeed home to a flourishing business community, characterised both by the presence of major international corporations as well as dynamic smaller companies and by the close connections and close interaction between the players. This is of course precious for start-ups that are highly dependent on their business environment – in particular for the vast majority of our around 600 start-ups that offer B2B services. Many of them testify to the ease of getting in touch with key decision-makers, even executives in large international groups that elsewhere would be very difficult to access. 

We are living in a data-driven world. How are Luxembourg and Luxinnovation nurturing tech developments in the data sphere?

Facilitating the growth of the data economy is a national priority in Luxembourg. The government has developed a strategy for data-driven innovation as a driver of economic growth. The objective is to make Luxembourg the place where companies can develop and test their data-based solutions in a safe and secure environment with access to world-class technology.

Luxembourg stands out for its comprehensive, supportive data ecosystem that provides a solid foundation for the country to become Europe’s most trusted data hub. It includes all the most central components, such as a national cybersecurity centre, data lakes, specialised research centres and world-class infrastructure, including the highest concentration of tier IV data centres in Europe and ultra-low-latency connections to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London and Paris. All of this is obviously available for companies located here, including start-ups.

The ecosystem is being further boosted by the business-oriented high-performance computer MeluXina. While most supercomputers are pure research structures, MeluXina offers 65% of its capacity to companies, including start-ups. As the next step, the country is working on the development of a national cloud and a secure data exchange platform.

What makes Luxembourg such a great data hub for internationalisation?

For a start-up, the internationalisation phase is essential. It is also very complex and difficult. Knowledge of the markets in which it is going to operate, openness to the environment around it, access to potential customers who are already operating internationally, and the creation of an international team are all key.

Luxembourg is one of the world’s most global economies, renowned for its strong international ties and openness to cross-border business. Nearly half of the country’s population is made up of foreign nationals, which makes it the most international country in the EU, and around 50% of its working population are cross-border commuters. French and German are official languages alongside Luxembourgish, and English is widely spoken. This creates perfect conditions for building an international team and entering new markets. 

All of this means that companies located here start thinking about their international expansion from day one.

How can international companies start operating from Luxembourg? What’s the process?

The StartupLuxembourg.com website is an excellent gateway to our ecosystem. Startups can find online on they need about the players in the ecosystem – incubators, accelerators and institutional bodies – as well as practical information on topics such as how to create a company. For those who want more detailed guidance regarding the administrative steps to take, the House of Entrepreneurship is there to help them. 

The portal also has a blog that keeps you up to date with the various networking events that are taking place. There are many of them! I would advise any startup that wants to know more about our country as a base for the start of its international expansion to browse the site and use the facilities available to ask all their questions.

The requests are redirected to the players who are best able to answer them, notably my team that coaches companies in optimising their business models and help them identify and apply for suitable funding instruments. That’s how the first link is made.

Data-driven innovation is a priority in Luxembourg. The country welcomes companies wishing to develop, test and geo-localise digital solutions and develop their compliance in a safe, secure European environment with access to world-class technology.