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Amcham gets the momentum going on the Sàrl Simplifiée. Now just do it!

7 February, 2014 in external events, news

Last Tuesday Amcham’s New Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, NBA, arranged an evening around the 1-1-1 Company. The topic is hot and important so the sold-out house was no surprise despite various other competing events that night. The evening was organised and moderated by Jed Grant and Pedro Castilho, the chair and vice-chair of the NBE. The team had brought together a great panel adding various dimensions to the challenges entrepreneurs face when they try to start a legal entity and get going with the actual business. In support of the Amcham Luxembourg – New Business & Entrepreneurs Committee “111 company” initiative, The Impactory has launched an online petition. Please sign it here.

So what is the 1-1-1 Company, or Sàrl Simplifiée as it is officially called? This slide tells it in a nutshell.

2014-02-04 19.06.19

 

For more photos from the event go to the Amcham site.

The panel started off with Vincent Hieff, Head of Espace Entreprises at the Chamber of Commerce. He explained the reasons and thinking behind the work the Chamber did in 2011 when they made the detailed suggestion for the Sàrl Simplifiée. Full text here. In addition to making company creation for a small business starting from scratch very easy, it is also great branding for Luxembourg. It will make Luxembourg a more attractive place in general.

Cristina Picco from Mamie et Moi told her story about the origins of their idea. It started 2012 – the year of active ageing. With her business partner Camille Alexandre they started building the idea of Mamie et Moi. The idea was to sell high quality knitware for children. All handmade by older ladies – les mamies – as and when they feel like knitting something. Mamie et Moi is something of a slow e-commerce. I.e. you pick your model and size online, place an order and then Mamie et Moi asks in the network of mamies who is ready and willing to knit that item. A few weeks later a beautiful piece of knitware arrives to the customer. All sounds great, right? Only one thing. The mamies are not allowed to knit for Mamie et Moi unless they are trained knitters with a diploma. At this point the auditorium in the basement of BGL burst out in a collective “what?! that’s crazy!”.

This opened up for the other big item that could improve the entrepreneurial landscape immensely: removing the requirement for an Authorisation d’Etablissement for as many activities as possible (health and safety excluded of course). At  this point Vincent added the improvement that has been made, albeit a compromise as opposed to a full solution. Nevertheless now you only need a diploma in the field of activity or three years of work experience in any field. Before your work experience had to be in the field of activity and you needed a diploma. Neatly blocking the road for many career shifters.

Mate Horvath was next up. He started projectbike.lu also a real life shop at 321 Route d’Arlon. It’s a bike shop where you can customise your own favourite bike. They are focusing on fixed gear bikes. Mate started this business out of pure love of bikes and design. In order to set up his Sarl he had to get inventive since he did not have €12 500 in cash. He did what the accountants call an ’apport en nature’ by adding his car to the balance sheet and with some cash savings from his studies, he was told he had €12 500 in the balance sheet. He also came across FUSE and their microcredit programme which helped him. More info on eco.lu.

Marc Meyers, Partner at Fiduciaire du Grande-Duche de Luxembourg also saw the benefits. He did point out a very valid point: the important reality after company creation is actually running the business. There are many pitfalls and issues. The 1€ capital might not be suitable for capital intensive activities and you have to fully capitalise directly.

Bob Kieffer from BGL BNP Parisbas and  a Lux Futurelab Startup specialist was last out. This meant he could in principle just agree with all prior panelists. He did add a very good clarification and reason to why BGL BNP Paribas has started Lux Futurelab. Since they are very slow to lend money to high-risks startups in order to be good stewards of their depositors’ money, they had to come up with something else. The Lux Futurelab team with Karin Schintgen and Tracey Urdiales set up the Lux Futurelab, a workplace for entrepreneurs. Instead of lending money they offer very professional office space and other services in the most central location in town.

At the Q&A we heard more testimonials from entrepreneurs on how a Sàrl Simplifiée and abolishing the requirement of an Authorisation d’Etablissement could make real impact on entrepreneurship in Luxembourg. Amcham NBE committee has written a manifesto on the subject. It saw the public light for a first time this event and will soon be available online. There will also be more to read about Amcham’s position on Authorisation d’Etbalissement, the Sàrl Simplifiée and bankruptcy law changes in the upcoming issue of Connexion.

This was a great and well needed event that added momentum to the energy on the ground among the entrepreneurs. Now we need to build on this momentum the event has created and work as a community to promote some simple changes that will create some real measurable impact. It is time for politicians to put things into action. To use a popular tagline as slogan – Just Do It!

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