Combining old and modern
Colette Dierick knows all about male-dominated industries: her family comes from the construction sector and she studied engineering at university. During her 30-year career at ING where she currently is CEO, she has been an outspoken advocate for more women in all industries.
“I’m really interested in innovation and technology,” she explains. “I visited Silicon Valley and was one of the founding partners of Zembro, a Belgian start-up that helps elderly people stay connected with smart bracelets.”
Originally from Ghent in Belgium, she has lived in Luxembourg since August 2019. From the stylish Mudam museum to the old town in the Grund, “everything is within easy reach in the city! The combination of old and modern is a trademark of Luxembourg and a reflection of its spirit: respect for the past while building the future.”
She believes “innovation is the key to a sustainable future. This country has demonstrated time and again its adaptability and entrepreneurial spirit.” Her daughters study in Belgium, and while she enjoys living in this small yet vibrant, international community, she looks forward to family weekends back home.
Increasingly attractive for start-ups
Frédéric Stiernon started out in the automotive industry, then moved to banking solutions and mobile payments. In 2016, he combined the three experiences to create CarPay-Diem, a mobile payment system for fuel. He is currently CEO of the company with the same name.
Luxembourg is an increasingly attractive place for start-ups: “With so many different incubators and accelerators launched over the past years, there’s a kind of consolidation and synergy between different incubators and smaller initiatives that now became bigger projects.” It is also perfect geographically (“easy to move everywhere”), and “the people running the country manage it like a company. They are open and really push the country to move on and to be the best in Europe for the development of employment.”
For him, “Luxembourg is synonymous with solidarity. There is such a dynamic and innovative interaction between different companies. Lots of events means you’re part of a small business world, where everyone knows one another. If you need to meet someone, you’re just two clicks away.”
A tech-friendly place
After studying computing science at LCL in London, Pierre Barreau left in search of better opportunities in Luxembourg. His company Aiva, which uses artificial intelligence to create personalised music, soon landed a spot at Luxinnovation’s acceleration programme Fit 4 Start. He hopes that Aiva will help “change and diversify the image of Luxembourg, moving away from being known as the financial centre of Europe, to being a tech-friendly place.”
What advantages does Luxembourg offer compared to London? “It’s a no-brainer, it’s the mindset of the people. Open-mindedness is required for innovation. And the people here are very receptive to new technology projects coming from Luxembourg.”
He continues: “The quality of life here is very good. The maximum commute time for all our employees is 15 minutes, and all over Luxembourg, it’s green. You can get out of the city so quickly, go for a run or a hike.” These are just some of the many advantages convincing talents that this is a great place to live. “And with people comes innovation.”
Photo credits: Mike Zenari, Maison Moderne