How Visionary Digital Strategy Turned Luxembourg into an ICT Powerhouse

It’s no accident that Luxembourg has become a powerful ICT player on the world stage. The Luxembourg government’s vision, careful planning and focused execution have turned the country into an ICT powerhouse that has attracted IT giants such as Amazon, PayPal, eBay and Skype – and continues to make it one of the world’s most attractive locations for entrepreneurs, start-ups, researchers and digital innovators.

To understand how Luxembourg’s visionary digital strategy was developed and how it continues to evolve, I attended a presentation given by Mr. Romain Fouarge, Director Information and Communication Technologies in the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy. He kindly gave me permission to reference key points from this presentation in this blog.

At the beginning of the new millennium, Luxembourg’s government identified key sectors of the economy for priority development: ICT, biotech, greentech and logistics. These sectors are, in fact, inter-linked as they require a state-of-the-art, connected, powerful and secure digital infrastructure. The ICT sector also acts as a strong enabler for the other sectors. To this end, Luxembourg started in 2005 to make strategic infrastructure investments in connectivity and data centres. Now, the country is connected to all major European PoPs through high-bandwidth, high-speed fibre networks and it houses world-class data centers – including certified Tier IV facilities.

The country also established a regulatory and legislative framework adapted to the unique challenges posed by the digital economy. Take data security and privacy, for example, where Luxembourg stands out with regulatory safeguards that ensure the highest level of protection.

During his presentation, Mr. Fouarge emphasised the importance of the governmental – private sector partnership that is essential in shaping and implementing Luxembourg’s digital strategy. He highlighted several areas where this cooperation has created significant competitive advantages for Luxembourg:

Infrastructure
Continuing investment, development and expansion of state-of-the-art infrastructure to keep up with the pace of technological innovations. For example, all homes in Luxembourg will be connected to the fibre network by 2020 and the mobile 4G network already covers 96% of the country.

Cybersecurity
Concrete action plans with a defined time frame will be implemented by the end of 2017. The goal is to raise the reputation of Luxembourg as a “Trusted Hub” that protects public and private stakeholders against cyber-attacks. The Cybersecurity Competence Centre is a clear step in that direction.

High Performance Cloud Computing
The High Performance Cloud Computing Project has been ongoing since 2015 and is recognised by the European Commission as a project of common European interest. It aims to create a network and competence centre for Cloud computing that is available to the public sector, universities, research centres and private companies.

Development of Digital Competencies
Many initiatives, such as Digital4Education, Fit4Coding and Digital Workshops are working to tailor vocational training to the needs of ICT companies.

Support for Innovation and Start-Ups
The Digital Lëtzebuerg initiative, in accordance with government policy, is extending its efforts to finance innovative start-ups in the ICT sector. Numerous public and private actions, such as the FIT4START program have been taken to boost the start-up ecosystem through incubators, technology transfer, funding and coaching. In addition:

•  The Digital Tech Fund has been set up to invest in start-ups in amounts between €100,000 and €1,600,000.
•  A new company structure called “simplified limited company” will be available in 2017, with faster and more efficient management process for business creation at a cost of just 1 euro to establish a company.

Other priority sectors are Fintech and e-Government. In each, public-private cooperation for funding, working groups and specific initiatives are showing concrete results.

Mr. Fouarge concluded his presentation by noting that: “While the challenges remain considerable for Luxembourg, international comparisons are encouraging. Continued efforts are required, in particular in the areas of education and training and promoting entrepreneurship. In addition, it is necessary to optimise cooperation between research, science and business, advance the expansion of knowledge via digital media, safeguard security and analyse the effects of the ICT sector on mobility and the environment. These are just a few examples of topics which require an overarching concept and which continue to necessitate new paths and possibilities to work together.”

If you’d like more information about how TERALINK Solutions is a key partner in Luxembourg’s digital strategy, or to see how you can benefit from Luxembourg’s many advantages for ICT companies and entrepreneurs, please contact me.