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Snapshots  Published 07.06.2012
Text by: Aaron Grunwald

IT firms sweep prize

Start-ups: Thibaut Britz received first prize at the 6th annual Creative Young Entrepreneurs Luxembourg ceremony on Wednesday.

Photo(s) : Charles Caratini

Britz co-founded Trendiction, which collects and analyses data found on social media sites for marketing and market research purposes.

The CYEL award is organised by the Junior Chamber International Luxembourg, which fosters entrepreneurship among those 18 to 40. The chamber began the prize to counter the lack--or at least the perceived lack--of entrepreneurial spirit in the Grand Duchy, Pedro Castilho of the organisers committee said during the ceremony, which was held at ArcelorMittal’s headquarters.

Explaining the evening’s “superheroes” theme, the chamber’s president Antoine David (photo, far left) said “entrepreneurs are heroes of the economy, of society and for themselves. They foster new ideas and employment opportunities, and help generate new dreams for others.”

Noting that at age 56 he was well over the 40-year-old limit for the competition, guest speaker Gary Kneip said “I still feel young.” The founder of 12 firms and current head of employers’ federation CLC reckoned “the way to feel young is to stay an entrepreneur your whole life.”

Noting that about 75 percent of entrepreneurs in the Grand Duchy are foreigners, Kneip announced that CLC would soon end its practice of holding meetings only in Luxembourgish, to encourage more participation by international residents in the association.

In his view the CYEL award’s original message is as relevant as ever for Luxembourg. Kneip cited the latest Eurobarometer poll which found that only 35% of residents in the Grand Duchy had ever considered starting their own firm, compared to an average 50% in the EU and 70% in the US.

However, the same Eurobarometer study shows that Luxembourg’s figures are similar to neighbours Belgium, France and Germany, noted Tom Treves (photo, far right), chief counsellor at the Grand Duchy’s economy ministry. He added that 8% of workers in Luxembourg are self-employed, compared to the EU average of 12%. Nevertheless “entrepreneurship is a mindset and changing mindsets is very difficult,” he conceded in his speech.

The second prize awarded last night went to Sven Breckler of Beewee Media, which provides tools for producing online, mobile and desktop applications.

Fabrice Dewasmes of Neopixl received the third prize. His firm provides software development tools for Mac and mobile devices.

Serial entrepreneur and CYEL jury president Jean-Claude Bintz proclaimed that-- having already founded two mobile operators in Luxembourg--listening to the entrepreneurs who participated was exciting enough that “I might start another one.”

Keywords:   entrepreneurship, CYEL, JCI, start-ups

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