26 new mentees
The 9th edition of the BusinessMentoring Luxembourg programme was launched on Tuesday 4 December 2018 at the Chamber of Commerce to a packed room consisting mainly of entrepreneurs. Since its creation in 2010, the programme has already given 150 entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive the support of an experienced business director.
Carlo Thelen, director general of the Chamber of Commerce, gave the opening speech in which he was delighted to announce that the number of mentees has grown continually since the start of the programme, from just 8 up to 26 mentees today.
The majority of the mentees are based in the ICT sectors - digital, IT, fintech and energy - but there are also a fair few from more traditional sectors such as industry, services, large retail and catering.
The principle of mentorship is based on a strict code of ethics, with a "young" company director (mentee) receiving continual support from an experienced company director (mentor) over a period of 6 to 18 months.
The path to creating a business can be strewn with obstacles.
Learning from others' mistakes and receiving feedback from other entrepreneurs who have already experienced one or more entrepreneurial adventures can prove to be an excellent way to avoid the common pitfalls of starting a new business. For entrepreneurs in the process of expanding or buying out an existing business, their mentor will help them to take a step back and learn to make decisions with confidence.
This year's ceremony was a celebration of passion, of information transfer, of knowledge and of the exchange of experience, which saw Patrick Hansen, CEO of Luxaviation, give a rich account of his mentorship experiences, followed by those of three previous mentees, who today run their own business success stories. Having co-founded several companies, including Luxjob.lu, M-Plify.com and Athome.lu, and gained a number of professional experiences abroad, Patrick Hansen returned to Luxembourg in 2010 to take the head of Luxaviation, the business aviation company. As the first ambassador for the values of a group that has seen a steady growth since its first flights in 2009, Patrick described with passion the beginnings of his entrepreneurial adventure and the challenges he faced leading up to his current success, having propelled Luxaviation to the second ranking business aviation company in the world. His motto, "“If it was easy we wouldn’t be doing it!”, perfectly reflects this business leader's attitude.
Isabelle St Antoine (Agilis Engineering), Patrick Rahme (All Square) and Cyrille Ercolani (EAL) followed with vibrant accounts of their own experiences in which they learned so much. Thanks to their excellent savoir-faire, a good dose of courage and a lot of passion, they each created and expanded companies which just keep growing. All three said they called on the mentoring service at key moments in the growth of their companies. Isabelle St Antoine explained, "In order to expand our business, we needed a workshop." Thanks to my mentor's help, we were able to make the right decisions, and 9 months later the workshop was up and running." Her company, which specialises in high temperature manufacturing, will move to its own premises at the end of the year.
For Patrick Rahme, founder of All Square, a social platform for the golfing community which he describes as Facebook or TripAdvisor for golf, mentorship has been an opportunity to "exchange ideas with an experienced entrepreneur who understands the challenges faced by a startup and who can help with the growth phase of a lasting business". In just a year and a half, All Square grew to a staff of fifteen employees. And finally, Cyrille Ercolani, whose electrical company now employs 50 people, learned above all to delegate during his mentorship, and to place more trust in his employees. At the end of this great experience, Cyrille decided to become a mentor "to help young entrepreneurs overcome these difficulties".
Following their accounts, a brief film presentation of the 2018 mentees was shown.
Claude Faber, spokesman for the mentor network, which each year comprises around fifty returning and new volunteers, closed the evening highlighting the importance of the integration of BusinessMentoring into the House of Entrepreneurship. "Within the House of Entrepreneurship, BusinessMentoring can better intensify the available support for directors in all stages of a business, namely start up, growth, maturity and buyout."
Since its creation in 2016, the House of Entrepreneurship, run by Tom Baumert, has grown exponentially, receiving thousands of current and future entrepreneurs looking for advice. As the director general of the Chamber of Commerce once again highlighted, "In joining the community of the House of Entrepreneurship, and becoming one of its services, the BusinessMentoring programme is returning to its essence and will enjoy increased visibility thanks to the various channels of communication made available by the House of Entrepreneurship and the Chamber of Commerce."
Visit the House of Entrepreneurship website (www.houseofentrepreneurship.lu) to follow all the news on mentorship and its continued collaboration with all the partners of the ecosystem.
BusinessMentoring is an initiative of the Chamber of Commerce, launched in 2010 to contribute to the diversification and expansion of SMEs/SMIs in Luxembourg. The Chamber of Commerce has made a considerable investment in the development of entrepreneurship via three key pillars: The House of Training (which offers ongoing training for business creators and directors), the House of Entrepreneurship (the national point of contact for entrepreneurship) and the House of Startups (to assist with startups).
After joining up with nyuko (from 2015 to September 2018) - which recently joined the House of Entrepreneurship - the Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the committee of mentors, felt the time was right to integrate the BusinessMentoring initiative into the House of Entrepreneurship.