Co-creating Luxembourg’s Social Innovation Success

Développement d'entreprises
Minister of Labour Georges Mischo surrounded by panelists and organizing teams of the Social Business Incubator, House of Sustainability & House of Startups.

Against the backdrop of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Luxembourg has made impressive strides in social innovation, demonstrating that profitability and social responsibility can go hand in hand.

On June 18th, the Social Innovation Lab was hosted at the House of Startups, honored with the presence of the Minister of Labour, Georges Mischo. Organized by the Social Business Incubator in collaboration with the House of Startups and the House of Sustainability, it was an opportunity to share some of the promising results, achieved so far. 

The belief that social innovation can transform traditional business models is at the heart of the Social Business Incubator’s mission. Starting in 2025, in compliance with the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive), large companies must produce non-financial reports mentioning their environmental, social, and governance performance data. Translated in the startup jargon.

The “time to market” is optimal.  

But where to start? 

By integrating social components, companies not only comply on a macroeconomic level; they enhance profitability and boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

In theory, we all agree, comforted by the opinion that small actions at various levels of the value chain will pay off. 

In practice, convincing shareholders to overcome biases and fundamentally adjust procedures and strategies toward more impact is still a hard job. 

Experience tells us that bridging both worlds of corporate business interests with conscious impact is a progressive journey. The inspiring paths to drive it, aliment a virtuous circle of sustainable growth. Luxembourg's pioneering enterprises are already collecting these rewards, setting a powerful example for others. 

We need visionary entrepreneurs to tackle social innovation for reinvented prosperity. 

During the afternoon Lab, the groups of participants dived deeper into specific topics crucial for aligning social innovation with current business concerns: recruiting talent, circular economy, and AI. 

Surfing on the success of the impact assessment of Social Business Incubator’s first event in 2023, the aim was to co-create and explore development paths with engaged stakeholders, entrepreneurs, policymakers, thought leaders, and students. 

Data from the SBI program demonstrated that for 87% of participants, the knowledge about social innovation in general and the likelihood of contributing and engaging in social innovation increased. 

This collaborative exercise outlined the steps to increase support for social enterprises and encourage traditional businesses to embrace social innovation.

Opening the networking evening, Minister Mischo shared his development vision and commitment to fostering social innovation in Luxembourg. He took the opportunity to announce the start of working groups, composed of various public and private stakeholders, dedicated to identifying the building blocks of a national strategy for social innovation. 

In a video message, François Bonnici, Director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum, congratulated Luxembourg’s government support for social innovation, nationally and internationally. 

The evening panel was moderated by Vanessa Schummer, Head of the Social and Solidarity Economy Department and the Social Business Incubator at the Ministry of Labour, together with Sabrina Kohn, Sustainability & Business Development Advisor at the House of Sustainability.

The panel featured inspiring speakers from four established companies, active in local and neighbouring ecosystems, who provided an unexpectedly fresh perspective. 

Katrin Redmann, COO, SAP Labs Paris, Talke Schaffrannek Director Circular Economy, BASF, César González Fernández, Founder of the startup Clean Something For Nothing, Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl, Social entrepreneur, Founder of BLYSS GmbH eagerly interacted with the audience. Their hands-on experiences showcased how social innovation strategies drive economic and societal benefits. 

Around 80 participants gathered around this event, exploring the future of business, where economic success and social impact are intertwined. 

This enthusiasm and the fruitful collaboration between the Social Business Incubator, the House of Startups, and the House of Sustainability, demonstrated that the fusion of profit and purpose is not just a trend—it's the future of sustainable business, with Luxembourg leading the way. 

Panel of Corporates and Social Innovation Entrepreneurs
Social Innovation Lab
Networking evening in the presence of Georges Mischo, Minister of Labour, Vanessa Schummer, Head of the Social and Solidarity Economy Department and the Social Business Incubator, Philippe Linster, CEO of House of Startups, Anne-Marie Loesch, Head of Sustainability & Business Development, Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce