Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg
Celebration of the 15th anniversary of the EEN network

European Enterprise Network celebrates 15th anniversary at the SME Open Day 2023

The 5th edition of the SME Open Day was special as it incorporated the celebration of the 15 years of operation of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) in Luxembourg. This exceptional day provided SMEs as well as the ecosystem actors that support with an overview of a range of European initiatives.

The various services offered by the EEN consortium were also presented at a demo-pitch session. The EEN team showcased the versatility of its European expertise and skills, and explained the wide range of specialised European services available to Luxembourg businesses.

The pitch session was introduced by Gunnar Matthiesen, Program Coordination Manager at EISMEA - European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, who emphasised how the Enterprise Europe Network works to strengthen skills of its advisors through numerous sectoral and thematic working groups. In this context, the concept of "Capacity Building," coupled with the constant pursuit of complementarity in the implementation of on-the-ground actions, was highlighted several times as an essential factor in providing even more qualitative European services tailored to the current needs of SMEs.

Lëtz Talk Europe

The end of the OpenMic session marked the official start of the "Lëtz Talk Europe" roundtable discussion on national and European economic prospects for companies.

With the presence of Lex Delles, Minister of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Tourism, Christophe Hansen, Member of the European Parliament, and Pierre Gramegna, Director-General of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the panel discussion was introduced by Carlo Thelen, CEO - General Director of the Chamber of Commerce.

The three host structures of the Luxembourg EEN consortium were also represented by Tom Wirion, General Director of the Chamber of Skilled Trades, Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation, and Cindy Tereba, Director of International Affairs at the Chamber of Commerce.

The lively and intense roundtable provided an opportunity to address the challenges and opportunities for Luxembourg SMEs at both the national and European levels. In addition to the added value brought by the EEN network, it highlighted the importance of initiatives and measures implemented at the community level to help businesses realise the full potential of the internal market, access European programmes to accelerate innovation, and expand internationally.

EEN, a key European partner

As Carlo Thelen aptly pointed out, "I am very pleased to celebrate this significant milestone in the journey of the Enterprise Europe Network consortium in Luxembourg since its launch in 2008. As part of the strategic partnership between the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Luxinnovation, the EEN network in Luxembourg has become a key European partner and a privileged interlocutor for integrating the European and international dimension. Today, it represents a significant strategic and operational link between community and national policies in favour of SMEs."

Tom Wirion also congratulated the Luxembourg EEN team on its 15 years of operation and, while wishing them great success in the future, noted that "the Chamber of Skilled Trades is a loyal partner of EEN, as all the resulting actions fully benefit the sustainable development and international level of the craft sector. Representing the largest pool within the craft sector, it is mainly small businesses that need initiatives like those offered by the EEN network to obtain optimal guidance in their efforts."

Companies must place innovation at the heart of their processes, not as an end but as a means.

In the ongoing dynamic exchange, Sasha Baillie emphasised that "In the face of structural forces of change and enormous economic and climate challenges, companies must meet the dual challenge of digital transition and energy transition, placing innovation at the heart of their processes, not as an end but as a means. It is our role within the EEN network to bring this dimension of innovation into thinking and actions."

For Cindy Tereba, "the missions of the EEN network have evolved over the years to adapt closely to the realities on the ground. With a strongly developed 'services' approach, EEN activities complement the actions already taken to support Luxembourg businesses internationally. Moreover, with increasingly tailored advisory assistance provided to companies, European services offered are becoming more advanced and relevant."

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