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A company’s success is often dependent on its turnover, profits or expansion. These criteria are essential for start-ups that want to attract investors. However, what approach can one take when a project is first purpose focused rather than performance focused?

It is on this basis that Transition Minett, a non-profit organisation active in the south of the country, decided to launch Facilitec. The idea is to open a place to welcome all those who wish to get involved in an evolutionary entrepreneurial project and do not necessarily find their place in other support structures. “There are many incubators in Luxembourg, but they have very specific objectives and target start-ups that can afford paid services, even if they do not yet generate income,” explains Emma Zimer, the project manager.

Tenants, will be replaced by managers.

Facilitec is a new kind of incubator that proposes to reinvent the relationship between work and private life and that invites its members to join together their skills to promote not only innovation, but also living together and conviviality.

For its initiators, Facilitec defines itself as a “manufacturer of collaborative alternatives and innovative local initiatives for evolution and the circular economy”. “We will not have tenants, but managers,” adds Emma Zimer. “We do not yet know what our model will be, because we will define it together, but the idea is to involve the project leaders, whom we will welcome in the management of the structure, in the reduction of operating costs and subsequent

financial compensation we will request.”

An old carpentry

In fact, Facilitec will be housed in a former disused carpentry located in Esch-sur-Alzette, near the train station. The space occupies approximately 300 m2 spread over three floors. The project began in June 2018 with initial one-year funding from the Grande-Duchesse Charlotte National Relief Foundation. From the 2nd year onwards, the City of Esch-sur-Alzette will take over.

However, Transition Minett insists on the fact that long term it is intended that the structure be financially autonomous. Discussions are ongoing to both minimise operating expenses and generate revenue, for example by opening a restaurant or refreshment bar.

Major investments to consider

Nevertheless, it may be that the old carpentry will only be used as premisesfor Facilitec on a temporary basis. Indeed, the walls and land belong to the construction company Tracol. By making them available to Transition Minett, it has already announced that the building will be destroyed in a few years’ time for other real estate projects… “If we can make it sufficiently lively and integrated into the neighbourhood, they may agree to keep it,” Emma Zimer hopes, however.

At present, interior design requires significant investment before it can be used. The ground floor will most certainly be reserved for manual projects, the first floor will house co-working spaces and the second floor will host an area dedicated to conferences and wellness activities. The inauguration is scheduled for 2020, or even the end of 2019 if work progresses quickly enough.

Many people are looking to reinvent themselves around the evolution.

Will there be enough people with alternative projects to fill the 300 m2 of Facilitec? Emma Zimer has no doubt about it. She found herself in this situation two years ago, when she created Nouma, a small company that supports participatory housing initiatives for seniors.

“Many people are looking to reinvent themselves around the evolution to put the human being back at the centre of their concerns,” she says. “There is a group within the Reconomy initiative that aims to bring these people together to help each other and Facilitec’s goal is to provide them with a place for the day they decide to start.”

Photo credit @Vincenzo Cardile

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