Why Luxembourg should be the first choice for foreign founders

5 min read
18 Mar 2019

eyond castles and the European Court of Justice, Luxembourg is also known to be brimming with opportunities for startups. From an impressive digital infrastructure to a supportive startup community, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider founding a company here, says Gabriella Gricius of Luxembourg-based social network startup, yoganect.

Living as an expat in Europe isn’t easy. Operating as an entrepreneur with a passion for launching a company is even harder. Laws and regulations across different countries can make it difficult, if not impossible, to turn your dream into a reality.

If you’re looking for a place to set up a business, look no further than Luxembourg. There was no question that yoganect would launch in Luxembourg, even though our founders Rene Delrieux and Elnura Ashimova live in Hamburg, Germany.

Rene and Elnura found the startup ecosystem to be extremely fragmented in Germany. In Luxembourg, on the other hand, it’s easy to reach out to people and make connections with nearly everyone.

Having also realized that German companies tend to be more hierarchical in structure, they found the quick pace of change in Luxembourg beneficial.

Nowadays, while yoganect has an office in Hamburg, the company is legally based in Luxembourg. From the perspective of our founders, Luxembourg truly is the ideal place to get a business off the ground. Here are additional reasons why.

A person taking a photo in Luxembourg. Photo: Unsplash/Dries De Schepper

Digital infrastructure

Perhaps the most important thing for foreigners thinking of founding their startup in any country is an ability to stay digitally available. Particularly if you’re thinking of launching a company in a country where you don’t plan on living permanently, digital infrastructure is key.

Part of yoganect’s life and blood as a startup is the power that online communication gives us, and the ability to meet other yogis from all around the world. When Rene and Elnura were considering where to found the company, Luxembourg stuck out because of how much its values matched with theirs.

In other words, yoganect’s mission of making yoga more accessible for everyone felt in tune with Luxembourg’s ability to provide us with the digital infrastructure we needed to make that happen.

One of the major players that helps Luxembourg get ahead of the game is Luxinnovation, the country’s national innovation agency. Not only does the agency offer clusters where startups can connect with like-minded partners, but it also provides an easy window for funding opportunities and acceleration packages.

For a small company like yoganect, organizations like Luxinnovation were incredibly appealing. Within the yoga community, working together is very important. So we wanted to work in a country that gave us the opportunity to meet with other startups who were going through the same process as we were.

But beyond just innovation agencies, Luxembourg also has situated itself to be Europe’s new Silicon Valley. In other words, the country has created a perfect system of legal and regulatory frameworks that benefit entrepreneurs, no matter if they are based within or outside of the country.

What is more, 60 percent of the EU’s GDP can be reached within a one-hour flight of Luxembourg.

A one-of-a-kind, supportive ecosystem

For startups and bold ideas, Luxembourg is incredibly open and supportive. Luxinnovation hosts at least four or five networking events per month that give new founders the opportunity to meet others and really cash in on the country’s potential.

As previously mentioned, the startup ecosystem is so important to startups like us. It allowed Elnura and Rene to really get out there and meet other people from all across Europe and the world to get feedback on their ideas and work beyond a simple office.

Another Luxembourg-based agency, the House of Entrepreneurship, helps startups establish themselves, go digital, network with others, and grow exponentially.

Luxembourg is also a great place to recruit professionals and to manage a pan-European business brand, according to Toshihiko Otsuka, the CEO of Rakuten Europe Bank.

This is not surprising, given that Luxembourg is also home to a lively startup community including fintech, e-skills, e-government, big data, cybersecurity, digital health and e-mobility.

This kind of interactive ecosystem paves the way for startups to cooperate and work with each other for the best possible results. That combined with talent from across the globe means a startup is perfectly positioned to start out with an international outlook.

Given yoganect’s own international ambitions, it was the perfect country from which to start.

Coworking in Luxembourg. Photo: Startup Guide

A huge amount of talent

Did you know that Luxembourg is the first in the world for highly skilled employment? In other words, the country has a huge amount of talent.

Many tech companies like Google and Microsoft have teams based in the country and often offer workshops. That dynamic also attracts other developers to move to the country and set up their own operations.

As more tech experts move to Luxembourg and commute from Germany and France, there’s no doubt that it, in turn, becomes easier to find professionals willing to support startups from inside and outside the country.

As a startup constantly seeking out new connections and inspiration from other teams, Luxembourg’s talent pool was also another big factor in choosing to be founded there.

Luckily for startups, a huge percent of the working population in Luxembourg are in the IT sector and the country makes it a priority to reduce visa and permit times for foreign professionals.  For startups, that’s like finding a golden ticket. For companies that want to launch a startup in Luxembourg, it makes it all the easier to find good talent quickly.

Out of the population of nearly 600,000, almost half are foreigners and 179,000 workers come from Belgium, France and Germany. This kind of fluid workforce gives startups more leeway in finding good workers from all across the EU.  

Ultimately, although Luxembourg may not be as well known as its European counterparts, such as Copenhagen, Berlin and Amsterdam, it has a slew of benefits for foreigners looking to launch their startup without any unnecessary hassle.

For yoganect, finding and choosing Luxembourg was almost a perfect fit. The digital and startup ecosystem was perfectly suited to the kind of innovative and exciting platform that the startup aims to be. And once you have the right environment, success becomes that much easier.

[ Read more: 10 cities across the globe to launch your startup in 2019 ]

Main photo of Luxembourg City by Pixabay