The annual event Nexus 2050 puts the spotlight on technology and innovation in Luxembourg. The first edition, held on 26-27 June 2024, focused in particular on artificial intelligence, sustainability, financial technology and cybersecurity. Luxembourg’s innovation support ecosystem was pleased to welcome a host of innovative companies attending the event, some of which were invited by the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Offices and embassies.

Introducing the Luxembourg innovation ecosystem

Jenny Hällen Hedberg at Luxinnovation speaks about European businses expansion from LuxembourgThe programme for international companies kicked off already on 25 June, when over 100 participants from 15 countries joined a welcome session giving them an overview of Luxembourg’s innovation ecosystem and the support available for innovative companies.

“Innovation is in the DNA of Luxembourg,” said Jenny Hällen Hedberg, Head of International Relations at national innovation agency Luxinnovation which informs and supports innovative companies considering opening offices in the Grand Duchy. “We support all companies to grow, innovate and become more digital and sustainable.”

Our goal is to ease or facilitate the life of every entrepreneur.

Luxinnovation works hand in hand with the House of Entrepreneurship, which provides practical support related to all aspects of company creation and development. “Our goal is to ease or facilitate the life of every entrepreneur,” explained Entrepreneurship Project Advisor Pedro Ferreira Leal. “The idea is to bring together in one house all the stakeholders involved in the value chain of business creation.”

Luxembourg’s leading research and technology organisation, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), was also present to explain how it cooperates with companies to contribute to the digitalisation and AI value creation cycle. “Our main mission is to de-risk technological innovation for our partners, enterprises or organisations that want to perform technological innovation,” said Francesco Ferrero, Director of LIST’s IT for Innovative Services department. “This means that we are acting as a bridge between knowledge and the market.”

Analysing business expansion through Luxembourg

Over the two following days, Nexus 2050 attracted 5,000 participants from more than 60 countries. Several international companies took this opportunity to explore opportunities for business expansion in and through Luxembourg.

For robotics company Shanghai Zhuyuo Automation Technology from China, the fair was a good starting point to discover the European market and technology ecosystem. “At the moment, we are mainly active in the Asian market. This my first visit to Europe and a great opportunity to start thinking about approaching the European market,” said General Manager Bing Zheng.

It is very clear that Luxembourg is working on innovation and you can see how the country develops: there are more and more startups and innovative ideas.

Through contacts with the Luxinnovation team, Málaga-based S. Lab learnt about Luxembourg as an innovative business destination and decided to explore the country further. The company has developed a sustainable and biodegradable packaging solution, designed for a world without waste. “We are looking to expanding into more countries in Europe and are interested in a central European location. It is very clear that Luxembourg is working on innovation and you can see how the country develops: there are more and more startups and innovative ideas,” commented CEO and co-founder Julia Bialetska, originally from Ukraine.

Jeff Hu, founder and CEO of Taipei-based Turing Space, shared this impression. “I feel that the government is very committed to innovation and open to collaborate with companies that don’t have any presence here yet,” he said. “Luxembourg feels like the heart of Europe, and it is definitely on our shortlist for potential European locations.”

Strengthening connections

South Korean smart window specialist Vsion has already taken the step to set up its European HQ in Luxembourg, intending to use its new base to penetrate the automobile smart roof market in Europe. It exhibited at Nexus 2050 to further strengthen its connections with the Luxembourg ecosystem. “We have a lot of demand from Europe, notably from the construction market and automotive industry,” commented Dongyeop Lee, Global Sales Executive and leader of Vsion Europe. “Next year, we plan to build a factory in Luxembourg as well.”

Luxembourg is a great platform for us: it is centrally located to launch and be present.

AI Tech UK, which specialises in AI governance, management and business empowerment, is considering following the same path. “Our product was built in the UK but designed to meet European standards,” explained founder and CEO Sherin Mathew. “Luxembourg is a great platform for us: it is centrally located to launch and be present. Our plan is to move here on a long-term basis and have our R&D and operational team here in Luxembourg.”

Fit 4 Start: Springboard to the EU

For many international startups, Luxembourg’s accelerator programme Fit 4 Start offers invaluable insights into the European market and helps them optimise their offering and go-to-market strategy for business in the EU. This is the case of Japanese Thermalytica, for example, which was an exhibitor in 2023 at the predecessor of Nexus 2050 and recently announced its incorporation in Luxembourg.

Thermalytica was one of the 15 successful graduates of the latest Fit 4 Start edition, which all had the opportunity to pitch their solutions to an audience of investors, corporates and others at Nexus 2050. At the same time, the call for applications was launched for the next edition. Companies active in the digital, health technologies and space fields are invited to submit their applications until 12 August 2024.