Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg
Lex Delles, Minister of the Economy

Lex Delles: "Luxinnovation, a key partner"

The new Minister of the Economy, SME, Energy and Tourism prioritises strengthening the Luxembourg economy. This will notably be achieved through an even closer collaboration with the national innovation agency.

A native of Mondorf-les-Bains, 40-year-old Lex Delles is one of the youngest members of the new government appointed on 17 November 2023. After five years as Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Tourism in the previous government, he has now also been entrusted with the portfolios of the economy and energy.

Minister Delles, what are the main priorities you wish to emphasise in the next five years?

The priority of my policy is to strengthen the Luxembourg economy and prepare for its digital transition and decarbonisation. Competitiveness, attractiveness and productivity are my guiding principles in this context in order to promote an environment conducive to business development.

Concrete measures to achieve these targeted objectives include, for example, administrative simplification. It is crucial that Luxembourg provides good quality public services to businesses. The objective is to simplify the interactions between businesses and administrations and to reduce bureaucracy. The Ministry of the Economy has digitalised aid requests through MyGuichet and implemented the principle of tacit approval for startup aid requests. We will continue to simplify and speed up our procedures.

We will continue to simplify and speed up our procedures.

Another crucial aspect concerns the shortage of land. This is a real concern for many businesses that we take very seriously. Therefore, the evaluation of the sectoral master plan "Economic activity zones" is another of my priorities. Simultaneously, we will launch a pilot project aimed at densifying the occupation of industrial zones.

Finally, I want to emphasise the importance of energy policy. Energy is a significant economic factor, and that's why this area has been integrated into the Ministry of the Economy. Energy security, energy costs and the development of renewable energy are important pillars of economic policy.

You were already in charge of the Directorate-General for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises for five years. How will this experience support your expanded role for the entire national economy?

It is essential to highlight that SMEs play a crucial role in the national economy. They represent 99.5% of Luxembourg businesses, of which 87.4% are companies with fewer than 10 employees.

Innovation is a key element of productivity and competitive capacity for businesses.

Over the past five years, my focus has been on creating support programmes aimed at facilitating the development and financing of Luxembourg SMEs. The Directorate-General for SMEs notably implemented "SME Packages" to intervene in crucial areas such as the energy transition and digitisation. Additionally, we also offer support to first-time business creations aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship and strengthening the SME sector.

In my view, it is essential for Luxembourg to have a favourable business environment that offers a dynamic and conducive atmosphere for entrepreneurship. This approach applies to the entire national economy, and I will continue to ensure the development of an attractive, competitive and productive environment for our businesses.

How does the concept of innovation fit into the programme you want to develop?

Innovation is not an end in itself but a key element of productivity and competitive capacity for businesses. It is essential for achieving a sustainable and competitive economy. This is why is crucial to promote investments in the future development of businesses.In this context, our national innovation agency, Luxinnovation, is an essential partner. Luxinnovation supports entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors in launching innovative activities in Luxembourg.

How do you assess the role of Luxinnovation in this context?

Luxinnovation plays a significant role in encouraging and supporting companies in their innovation, sustainable development and digital transformation efforts.

In order to properly capture the specific needs of any type of business – whether a start-up, an SME or a large company, across different sectors of our economy – the agency listens and guides the company towards the support service for innovation projects which corresponds to the needs and specificities of the company in question.

Luxinnovation plays a major role in the development of large-scale innovation projects.

Taking into consideration the concrete needs of businesses and future opportunities, the agency knows how to create synergies between different innovation services, whether at national or European level, and thereby maximises support for businesses.

It is important to add that Luxinnovation's mission is not limited to supporting individual companies, but that it also plays a major role in the development of large-scale innovation projects for the country, known as“flagship projects”.

The Ministry of the Economy defines the topics  or areas that require the launch of such large-scale innovation projects in the Luxembourg ecosystem and can call on dedicated Luxinnovation experts and project management teams to organise such projects. Luxinnovation is therefore one of the key partners of the diversification and innovation policy of the Ministry of the Economy.

Photo credit: Ministry of the Economy

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