Banque Raiffeisen is the main sponsor of the 2022 edition of the “Prix de l’Innovation dans l’Artisanat” (Innovation Prize in Crafts). Why is Raiffeisen involved once more in this initiative?
Marc Schronen : Today, as our economy is recovering, we are happy to see the event taking place again and are proud to be the platinum sponsor of this year’s edition.
Luxembourg's craft trades and SMEs are among the sectors most affected by the crisis. However, they are essential to our economy and are one of the reasons for the existence of our cooperative bank, which aims to be socially responsible and a good citizen. At the height of the health crisis, we, as a bank, maintained a close link with our private and professional clients by playing a pragmatic and proactive role.
Thus, in 2020 and 2021, we offered our professional clients a large number of moratoria and bridging loans over the medium and long term, with or without application of the State Guarantee Act, in compliance with the constraints set by the Treasury and with the support of the professional mutual associations. Of course, the Luxembourg State has made a significant financial contribution, but risk-taking and decision-making have mainly been the responsibility of private sector players such as Banque Raiffeisen.
At the same time, many initiatives have been taken by professionals to ensure the sustainability of their companies by calling on a highly qualified national and regional workforce. The flexibility of our companies, aimed at preserving employment, remaining competitive and managing customer and supplier services, should be highlighted. However, there are still many difficulties, particularly in terms of the supply of conventional materials or high-end electronic components, which could jeopardise the timetables of traditional projects.
Against this difficult background, Banque Raiffeisen is pleased to contribute through its Platinum Sponsorship to the Innovation Prize in Crafts, which honours the most innovative projects. Our commitment is motivated above all by our specific philosophy as a cooperative and responsible bank, by our desire to promote the best choices for businesses, by our eagerness to support the local private economy and by our determination to preserve the workforce and employment in Luxembourg in order to ensure good social cohesion.
In your opinion, has the health crisis had an effect on the innovative spirit of Luxembourg companies?
The crisis has highlighted the need to innovate constantly and thoughtfully in order to stay one step ahead of both neighbouring and more distant countries. It is true that this health crisis has generated stress among entrepreneurs, but this has led to more reflection and to certain decisions aimed at the survival of companies. Many Luxembourg entrepreneurs reacted quickly and pragmatically in order to be innovative, to guarantee employment and to ensure the survival of their companies.
But despite the entrepreneurial innovation, there is a downside to this crisis: in just a few months, some companies lost what they had managed to hoard for ten or twenty years. Our financial analyses have shown that a healthy and sufficiently capitalised balance sheet remains the indispensable basis for survival in difficult times. Here, too, initiatives must be taken, especially in the area of succession, whether this is within the family circle or outside it. Such a step must be prepared well in advance, and never at the last minute.
Within this context, Raiffeisen believes that entrepreneurs who have shown innovation and prepared their companies for future generations should be honoured and made better known.
Do you have any advice for Luxembourg craft companies?
If there is one message which Banque Raiffeisen wants to send to Luxembourg entrepreneurs, to the our partner clients and to craft and family businesses, it is this: do not let yourself be overshadowed by obstacles and exceptional circumstances such as the recent health crisis! In our global economy, there is no room for hesitation, immobility and lack of innovation. The virus has not stopped at the country's borders, and neither has foreign competition. The company which does not constantly innovate is bound to disappear.
In particular, young, motivated, dynamic and innovative employees must be at the heart of strategic projects and help to shape the future of companies. In a world of constant change, sustainable investments, whether financial, technological or human, are the key to success and sustainability.
Once the project planning is complete, Banque Raiffeisen is there to help entrepreneurs find the best way to bring their projects to fruition and to support them financially. Together we can set out on the path to a promising future!