Starting a business
You've got a business proposition, or a profession that allows you to work freelance, or simply your hobby has now turned into a full-blown commercial opportunity – what do you do next?
Starting a business in Luxembourg requires careful planning, says the government website, but there is plenty of help and guidance, much of it available in English.
Government business portal
The business portal on guichet.lu is probably the best place to start for guidance on the administration process for setting up a business including business permit applications.
It provides advice on which legal form of business is suitable for your particular project or activity, how to register with the Trade and Companies Register, registration for VAT and social security, legal forms and business permits.
However, part of the problem is that not all forms are available in English, and accompanying documents for business permit applications must be translated into French or German.
Help & support in Luxembourg
My Start is run by the Luxembourg government, the Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Trade, but again the website is in French or German.
The Impuls programme at Nyuko, supported by the government, is designed for budding entrepreneurs who want to lauch a business beneficial to society. It provides help in the form of mentors, workshops and assessment by a jury for entrepreneurs to create a business model with a clear social mission. Previous start-ups from this programme include Ouni and Terra.
The House of Entrepreneurship initiative for new and established businesses also gives guidance on creating a new business, or taking over an existing one (such as a restaurant) – this time in English. Luxinnovation has also been credited as being very helpful by some start-ups.
Setting up for €1
S.à.r.l. – s was launched in January 2017 and means you can set up a simplified limited liability company for as little as €1 (up to a maximum of €12,000) as a private deed that dissociates business assets from your own assets (so different from a sole proprietor). You can find more information in English here. You can also find more information on applying for a business permit here.
Useful articles and websites
Expatica has a useful article listing the three types of business category (commercial, skilled craft trades and specific professions). It provides details on permit applications (which take about 3 months). It also advises that overall costs are more likely to be around €1,000 once you've taken into account notary fees, certified copies, registration and legal fees.
The article includes details on getting financial aid, including the Society Nationale de Credit et d'Investissement – a bank that specialises in financing investments and start-up loans.
Luxembourg has made an open commitment to supporting the growth of the small business economy and to innovative new start-ups. Possibly the only issue is that there is too much information available to would-be entrepreneurs and freelancers.
Working out how to get all the right forms in the right format to the right place can be a trial.
One good way to prepare is to ask other people who've been through the process. Advice from those who have, is that you will need to call the RCS (Registre de Commerce et des Societies) if things aren't moving and expect to wait a few months for your VAT number.
Also expect a long interview to get your business bank account, and have all your documents ready, including bank account details. The House of Entrepreneurship is cited as being pretty helpful if you hit a stumbling block.
The government runs information sessions on business creation which you can attend for free (these might be online due to current restrictions).
Blogs, Facebook groups, and websites:
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