The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in close cooperation with the Ministry of the Economy, organized a multi-sectoral official trade mission to Toronto and Montreal from 19-24 June 2022, a decade after the last such mission to Canada.
The delegation of 100+ representatives was headed by H.R.H. the Crown Prince of Luxembourg, and led by H.E. Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy, as well as Carlo Thelen, CEO of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. The mission focused on cybersecurity, data economy, healthtech, fintech and space.
The trade mission began on Monday June 20th with an Ontario-Luxembourg business forum hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade at the Ontario Investment and Trade Center. This event served as a platform to showcase the growing sectors in Luxembourg as well as for the delegation to network with potential Torontonian business partners and strengthen economic ties between Luxembourg and the Province of Ontario.
The forum was officially opened by H.R.H. the Crown Prince of Luxembourg, Minister Franz Fayot as well as Maud Murray, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. During his speech, H.R.H. the Crown Prince said that “commercial relations between Luxembourg and Canada are solid. With a relationship based on trust and shared values, we are partners in an increasingly complex world. Business partners, allies in the event of war, but above all partners sharing the same values of democracy, inclusive societies and strongly committed to stimulating innovation and business dynamism.”
The Minister of Economy, Franz Fayot said during his speech: “Luxembourg is the ideal gateway to the European market, for innovative start-ups as well as for established companies wishing to expand their activities. To increase the visibility of our ecosystem for young innovative companies, the Startup Luxembourg initiative was launched to represent all the players in the ecosystem and give them better visibility, such as on our joint stand with the Chamber of Commerce at the Collision fair in Toronto.”
Sabrina Aksil of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce gave an overview of the current state of the Luxembourg economy and presented the delegation to the audience of Torontonian businesswomen and men, before handing the word to Mario Grotz, Director General for Industry, Technology and Research at the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy who gave a presentation of Ons Wirtschaft vun Muer, Luxembourg’s vision of the economy of the future. Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce opened the Ontario economic overview by highlighting “Canada and Luxembourg's long-standing friendship” that resulted in a strong economic and trade partnership before handing the floor to Marek Karwowski from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
The forum also focused on Cybersecurity, Data Economy, HealthTech and Fintech, which all had separate break-out sessions led by respective field experts from both countries. All participants enjoyed plenty of networking opportunities throughout the event.
The event was followed by a visit of DMZ, Toronto Metropolitan University’s world-leading incubator for tech startups, and a Startup event entitled “Building bridges to accelerate startups on both sides of the Atlantic”, organized by Startup Luxembourg in presence of H.R.H. the Crown Prince and Minister Fayot. Both vibrant startup ecosystems were showcased before opening the floor to a pitching session involving several startups from Toronto and Luxembourg, including Luxembourg based startups Passbolt, A352 and Toronto champions Baobab Insurance, Softdrive and myLaminin.
Participating companies had the chance to invite their clients, business partners and prospects to an official business networking reception held at the InterContinental on the evening on June 20th, hosted by the Minister of the Economy and Carlo Thelen, in presence of H.R.H. the Crown Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg.
The second and third days of the mission were entirely dedicated to the anchor event of the Official Trade Mission to Canada, i.e. Luxembourg’s first ever participation at the Collision Conference, one of the biggest startup events in North America where startups and national pavilions come together with thematic stages and inspirational keynote speakers, attracting over 33,000 visitors, 850+ investors and 1,250+ startups from 140+ countries.
The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Economy co-financed a Luxembourg national stand under the "Startup Luxembourg" banner, that had 5 exhibiting startups Modus 3, A352, NoBigDeal, Investset, Passbolt and 4 key players: Luxembourg House of Startups, the Luxembourg City Incubator, Luxinnovation and the Luxembourg House of Financial Technologies. The national stand served as a meeting point for the whole Luxembourg Delegation throughout the event.
Notable highlights of the Luxembourg participation in the conference were the onstage discussion between Minister Fayot and Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne on the topic of “Trans-Atlantic economic cooperation and how Luxembourg and Canada can work together more effectively” as well as a networking event co-organized with Quebec startups on their national stand at Collision.
On Wednesday, the delegation made its way to Montréal where, once more, delegates enjoyed an official business networking reception with their clients, business partners and prospects, held at the beautiful premises of the Humaniti Hotel Montréal.
No time to rest for the business delegation on June 23rd, Luxembourg’s national day, as the group was given a presentation of Félix & Paul Studios at the Centre Phi, followed by a multisensory and interactive virtual reality experience that transported the delegation aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
After this short trip to out of space, the delegates attended a Luncheon-Business Forum (Déjeuner-Causerie) in honor of our delegation, organized by the CORIM (Conseil des relations internationales de Montréal) with a keynote speech given by Minister Franz Fayot followed by a panel on “Innovations in digitization of the health sector: challenges and opportunities” led by sectoral experts from Luxembourg and Québec, namely Carole Brückler, Director of Digital Health Technologies at the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy, Thomas Dentzer, Strategy Director at the Luxembourg Ministry of Health and Joanne Guay, Director of Technology Integration at the University of Montreal Hospital Center.
The official trade mission was concluded by a startup event hosted by the Fintech Station Montréal, opened by Carlo Thelen, with a panel that focused on innovation and talent attraction. The event served as a platform for the announcement of a formalization of the already long-lasting partnership between the Station Fintech Montreal and the Luxembourg House of Financial Technologies and allowed for an informal networking cocktail between Luxembourg and Quebec startups and companies.
In parallel of the above-mentioned program, a delegation of Space companies enjoyed an entirely separate program set up by the Luxembourg Space Agency in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency, that involved company site visits as well as workshops and b2b opportunities that culminated in the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two national space agencies.
On the last day of the trade mission, June 24th, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (French: Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Fête Nationale du Québec), a holiday celebrated in the Canadian province of Quebec, all participants enjoyed a free half day to discover Montreal and partake in the many festivities that take place on the night before and the holiday proper.