Luxembourg is home to a dynamic and rapidly growing start-up community that benefits from the country’s attractive business environment and ideal location from which to reach the wider European market. The Fit 4 Start acceleration programme is one of the corner stones of the support offered to increase the success rate of innovative entrepreneurs. Since its launch in 2015 by Luxinnovation and the Ministry of the Economy, Fit 4 Start has helped almost 80 start-ups speed up their development and improve their market position.
Expert coaching, attractive funding
Two editions of Fit 4 Start are organised each year. Start-ups are admitted through a highly competitive selection process, culminating with a Pitching Day where shortlisted candidates present their projects to an external jury.
Selected participants benefit over a four-month period from intensive and personalised coaching provided by internationally recognised experts. During this period, they also have free access to working space in one of the two partner incubators, Technoport and the Luxembourg City Incubator.
When joining Fit 4 Start, the start-ups receive a grant of €50,000 from the Ministry of the Economy. Those that have successfully completed the programme and managed to raise at least €50,000 of private capital will receive an additional grant of €100,000.
ICT focus, cleantech participants
Each Fit 4 Start edition offers 10 places to ICT start-ups. Additional verticals focus on healthtech and spacetech start-ups.
The start-ups that are part of the ICT sessions are active in virtually any related area, such as the Internet of Things, e-services, cybersecurity, blockchain, big data or artificial intelligence, to mention just a few examples. Many of them offer products and services that are related to clean technologies. “This is not surprising: digital solutions are often essential for efficient use of resources, and the development of clean and environmentally friendly technologies is a major priority for many start-ups,” says Georges Schaaf, Head of International Business Development – CleanTech at Luxinnovation.
Several graduates from the programme have a strong cleantech dimension to their activities.
This can clearly be seen among the Fit 4 Start participants. “Several graduates from the programme have a strong cleantech dimension to their activities,” says Mr Schaaf. “The spring 2019 edition included two: Food 4 All, which has developed a food waste reduction solution, and Nina Space that helps prevent and mitigate wildfires. Other examples from earlier editions are restorative economy and recycled materials sourcing specialist Eiravato, agriculture sensor solution expert Evvos and POLAAR Energy, whose mission is to help consumers and businesses understand their water and energy usage, save money and reduce their environmental impact.”
Fit 4 Start is open to start-ups created in Luxembourg as well as elsewhere. Since its start, the programme has received over 1,000 applications from entrepreneurs originating from more than 60 countries. “Start-ups that want to boost their development and look for an attractive launchpad for their European business activities should definitely submit an application and try their luck,” Mr Schaaf concludes.