Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy, and Sasha Baillie, CEO of national innovation agency Luxinnovation, presented the reshaped "Fit 4" performance programmes, which offer companies the opportunity to benefit from advice from specialised experts and public subsidies in order to improve the overall performance of their activities linked to innovation, sustainability and digital transformation.
This complete review of the "Fit 4" programmes has been done in order to even better respond to the specific needs of companies working in a constantly changing environment. It is in line with various European and national strategies for digitalisation and sustainability.
"It is essential to as much as possible take into account the challenges of digital transformation and sustainable development that both companies and the national economy have to rise to," explained Minister Fayot. "By reorganising the 'Fit 4' programmes around the three pillars of digitalisation, innovation and sustainability, Luxinnovation is optimising its key positioning on these major themes and further developing its added value."
Given the success of Fit 4 Digital with companies, an analysis will be made of whether areas such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence should be added to the range of adapted digital solutions implemented in the context of this programme in order to enable companies to gain in competitiveness.
The Fit 4 Innovation programme enables companies to improve their operational performance. In the medium term, this programme will be enriched with a component to support companies in their transition to new business models, and another one aimed at specifically helping companies in the health technologies sector to understand medical regulatory expectations that govern the marketing of their products.
A new programme, Fit 4 Sustainability, will be launched immediately. This programme is aimed at enabling companies of all sizes to make all their activities more sustainable. Its scope covers actions to reduce the carbon footprint, develop the use of renewable energies, optimise the use of energy, implement circular approaches according to the 4 R principles (reduce, reuse, repair, recycle), reduce the use of resources and minimise waste production.
"With the support of consultant that we will approve, assessments will be done of companies interested in this programme. They will result in implementation roadmaps and cost estimates. Companies will then be able to benefit from a reimbursement of between 50 and 70% of the costs incurred as part of the implementation. Projects launched within this context are also likely to be eligible for additional public aid provided by the Ministry of the Economy," explained Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation.
This reshaping of the "Fit 4" programmes does not include the Fit 4 Start acceleration programme, which continues to support start-ups in their development.
Presentation of Luxinnovation's 2021 annual report
In addition to the presentation of the reshaped "Fit 4" programmes, Luxinnovation also presented the key figures of its activity in 2021. During the year, the innovation agency has focused on its two main missions: empowering companies to innovation today in order to be ready for tomorrow, and stimulating the development of a digital and sustainable economy.
"We have supported more than 420 companies through our Cluster Initiative, and provided companies with explanations on how to prepare high-quality requests for R&D and innovation subsidies as well as specific aid measures set up in the context of the pandemic such as COVID R&D, COVID INVEST and Neistart. In addition, over 340 companies have participated in one of our 'Fit 4' programmes," said Sasha Baillie. "Our team has also worked hard on supporting the participation of national companies in international projects funded by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe programme. In 2021, Luxembourg participants received over €17 million of funding."
Luxinnovation also set up a web platform supporting the first call for collaborative R&D projects through public-private partnerships (PPP) in the field of health technologies. Following this joint call, 4 projects with an overall budget of €6.1 million, co-financed up to 75% by the Ministry of the Economy and the National Research Fund, were selected.
The national innovation agency also identified over 200 international companies looking for opportunities in Europe that could benefit from locating activities in Luxembourg. The agency participated in the organisation of "soft landings" for almost 100 of them. 10 international companies supported by Luxinnovation chose to come to Luxembourg in 2021.
Released by the Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation