The Chamber of Commerce takes stock of 2018 and prioritises future goals
The presentation of the 2018 annual report was an opportunity for the Chamber of Commerce to unveil its new strategy for 2025 and to present, in the presence of the Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and the Minister for Tourism, Lex Delles, the many initiatives undertaken for SMEs. Luc Frieden, President of the Chamber of Commerce, also presented the priorities for his new five-year term, which today represents the interests of 90,000 businesses.
Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce, summarised 2018 in 12 key figures illustrating both the diversity of services provided to businesses and the economy and the relevance of the many actions undertaken. Thus, the Chamber of Commerce analysed the potential impact on Luxembourg businesses of more than 300 draft Grand-Ducal laws and regulations; involved more than 4,000 representatives of companies and institutional partners in its internationalisation activities; trained some 220 people every day via courses offered by the House of Training and the Institut Supérieur de l'Economie (ISEC) in particular; managed nearly 2,000 apprenticeship contracts in 25 different professions; and advised more than 9,000 entrepreneurs and clients within the House of Entrepreneurship. The year 2018 also marked the successful launch of the House of Startups, as well as awareness campaigns for digitalisation and the new data protection regulations to prepare companies for the challenge of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
For the Director general, the work carried out by the Chamber of Commerce's teams has the same objective, ‘supporting Luxembourg companies in their development and helping them to evolve in a competitive and rapidly changing environment. Our objective is to be a high-performance service provider for our companies and to support them as effectively as possible at all stages of their life cycle.’ Carlo Thelen was thrilled that with the launch of the House of Startups on 1 June 2018, the Chamber of Commerce was able to complete its range of services so that it now operates as a group, with various entities that can cover all the needs of Luxembourg’s entrepreneurs and businesses. It is this same objective – to optimise the services provided to its members – that guided the Chamber of Commerce’s CC2025 strategic plan.
This strategic plan is the result of a holistic and participatory brainstorming process that began in 2017, which included businesses, elected members, employees, and professional federations and associations. This reflection and consultation work was complemented by a strategic orientation survey of all member companies to identify, in a bottom-up approach, the expectations of business leaders for the Chamber of Commerce. The CC2025 strategic plan summarises the outcome of this work by defining the values, vision, missions and strategic and operational objectives that will guide the Chamber of Commerce to 2025.
In order to maintain a customer-oriented approach, the Chamber of Commerce places its member companies at the centre of its thinking and organisation with the objective of creating value for them. The quality of the services provided is therefore a central and permanent concern for the Chamber of Commerce. Above all, it is about providing companies with effective support to face the many challenges posed by a changing economy, such as access to a skilled workforce, skills development, digitalisation, and internationalisation.
‘Think small first’ – Promoting entrepreneurship and administrative simplification for SMEs
The second part of the press conference was devoted to SME policy. Lex Delles, Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Minister for Tourism, underlined his ministry’s good collaboration with the various departments of the Chamber of Commerce and in particular with the House of Entrepreneurship, ‘SMEs are the driving force behind economic growth and job creation in Luxembourg. With the support of the Chamber of Commerce, we ensure that the legislative framework is conducive to the creation and development of businesses in the small and medium-sized sector.’ Minister Delles specified that the Chamber of Commerce's House of Entrepreneurship, which brings together under one roof several actors involved in the process of creating businesses, is a good example of administrative simplification. The Minister also noted that the Go Digital programme is another example of effective support for SMEs in terms of digitalisation.
Carlo Thelen then recalled that the Chamber of Commerce applies the Think Small First principle in order to offer SMEs the most favourable business environment possible. In this context, he was delighted to be able to report a positive assessment for 2018 for the House of Entrepreneurship, a true one-stop shop for companies. No fewer than 9,178 entrepreneurs were advised on site and more than 1,500 people participated in the Entrepreneurs' Days conference series, the aim of which is to promote entrepreneurship and address important topics for this target group. Similar to Minister Delles, Carlo Thelen welcomed the success of the Go Digital programme, which, in its first year, served 878 companies, and from January to April of this year has already had more than 2,300 clients.
Digitalisation, internationalisation and talent attraction: Priorities for the future
Luc Frieden, who took over the presidency of the Chamber of Commerce on 3 April, praised the excellent collaboration with the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises of the Ministry of the Economy before explaining on his priorities for his five-year term, ‘after consultations with the various groups represented at the Chamber of Commerce, it is clear that the challenges facing businesses by digitalisation, by internationalisation of trade, and by the lack of skilled personnel in future sectors, but also in many of the traditional sectors, require urgent responses. These three topics are of crucial importance, not only for our businesses, but also for the economic development and modernisation of our country. The Chamber of Commerce must be proactive in all these areas and fully embody its role as a force for proposals, a federator, and a facilitator. The Chamber of Commerce has shown in the past that it can move things in the right direction and I am very confident that we can help find innovative responses to the major challenges that our businesses face. I have already set up working groups to develop concrete proposals and responses for these issues, involving all the economic sectors represented at the Chamber of Commerce.’
The activity report for 2018 and the CC2025 strategic plan can be downloaded here: https://www.cc.lu/services/publications/