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Patrick Kersten ( Luxembourg Lags Startup Incentives seeks to make Luxembourg a startup-friendly ecosystem. But to derive the full benefits, the Grand Duchy needs to reform its startup infrastructure to provide incentives for investors such as tax breaks; employee options, and improved mechanisms for the transfer of intellectual property from the Grand Duchy’s academics and researchers to startup firms. 

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Can you describe in a few words? is the association of startups in Luxembourg. It is a professional association representing the general interests of its members. As such, it is the voice of startups in Luxembourg. Startups are the driving economic force of our future. With them, we want to ensure that Luxembourg is a startup-friendly place that rewards innovation and digital entrepreneurs. Existing projects must be heard about and represented. We want to energize Luxembourg's startup ecosystem by creating sustainable connections between its players. At the heart of our commitment are initiatives that help fund startups, promote women's empowerment and develop entrepreneurial education. Managed by a team of startup founders, the association structures knowledge sharing between experienced entrepreneurs and first-time founders.  


As an investor, what qualities do you recommend/look for in startups? 


Every day new startups launch in Luxembourg. Their common goal is to commercialize a new, often innovative product or service. The ultimate goal is to see their project grow, usually far beyond the borders of Luxembourg. For this, many qualities are required. In addition to having a homogeneous and ambitious team, Luxembourg startups need to have a clear vision of their international development from the outset. Every founder's dream is to see his or her product sell “like hotcakes.” Having a clear marketing plan is therefore essential. 

“Every day new startups launch in Luxembourg”


If you had a magic wand, what are the three wishes you would make to boost start-ups in the Grand Duchy? 


Luxembourg lacks many of the tools to encourage startups that exist in neighboring countries. Firstly, any start-up nation worth its salt has a tax incentive scheme for investors. Some countries, such as Belgium, are considered tax shelters for startups. During the Covid pandemic, private savings reached new records. But all this money is rapidly losing value with the inflation in 2022. Redirecting some of it to investments for startups is therefore an investment opportunity. As this is venture capital and the state will benefit in the long term from the creation of future champion companies, it is understandable that many countries offer tax advantages for investors. Secondly, there is a need to offer a profit-sharing scheme for the value created in startups to those who make it possible, namely the employees. The Anglo-Saxons have stock option programs. It would be useful to have a specific scheme for startups in Luxembourg. Finally, Luxembourg invests a lot in research and has done so for several decades. The number of experienced researchers and academics in Luxembourg is impressive. There is a need to facilitate the transfer of intellectual property to private initiatives (startups) to valorize this know-how, research, and academic innovation. 

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