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Entrepreneurial spirit thrives against all odds. Despite worries relating to the health crisis and the economy, entrepreneurial spirit is proving resilient and entrepreneurs, now more than ever, need to equip themselves for the future. Interview with Charles Sunnen, Business Adviser at Banque de Luxembourg.

Entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to invest is still alive and well, despite the current economic uncertainty.Interview with Charles Sunnen, Business Adviser

Is the entrepreneurial spirit still alive and well given the current economic situation? 

A large number of companies are being badly hit by the effects of the pandemic and economic uncertainty: difficulties with recruitment and staff organisation, supply problems, increased costs and unpredictable future implications, hesitant customers, etc. These factors make planning for the short and medium term very difficult and company profitability is suffering as a result.

Even though many uncertainties remain, particularly with regard to the prospects for exiting the crisis, our clients have developed initiatives to overcome this unprecedented situation and have therefore succeeded in adapting to this new dynamic. Their desire to develop and innovate remains intact, in particular via investments within their commercial activity: professional premises, sites and production tools, etc. These investments are undertaken with a view to developing and modernising their business in order to put themselves in a favourable position once the health crisis is over.  

What are the challenges facing companies today?

Aside from the health crisis, the transition to a more sustainable entrepreneurial model constitutes a major challenge. It would seem that the Covid crisis has amplified new underlying trends among consumers and customers, with new expectations and requirements: addressing the environmental impact, short turnaround and local consumption, social solidarity, etc. 
Today’s customers expect companies to be responsible, transparent, and in tune with their values. That obviously requires additional investments if they are to commit to this transition to corporate social responsibility. 

Is this also the case for family-owned firms?

Family-owned firms seem significantly more immune to the effects of the health crisis, although the situation obviously varies from sector to sector. It is particularly the case for companies where family shareholders are involved in management decisions. Family companies have demonstrated their strengths – their resilience, agility and the essential role they assign to human values. 

How can these companies be helped in terms of the post-crisis transition?

Firstly, it is important to listen to them. Since the start of the pandemic, we have taken the initiative to stay as close as we can to our clients, talking to them in order to understand the challenges they face in light of this disruption – that constitutes the essence of our proactive approach. 

Visiting our clients wherever possible, taking time to listen to them, and understanding them at a professional as well as personal level are what enable us to offer all-round support. The story behind each and every company is unique and above all a human adventure in which the problems and challenges need to be analysed. Our personalised, long-term approach enables them to manage their plans and equip themselves for their future challenges in total confidence. 

We support companies in developing their new plans, by providing our clients with tailor-made financing solutions. But our advisory approach extends beyond simply offering particular rates and guarantees. It is about finding the best solution, always with the company's best interests in mind. That’s why we work hand in hand with internal and external experts.  

Rounding off our approach, we invite our clients to attend theme-based workshops; this enables us to facilitate a peer exchange on subjects related to entrepreneurship, the CSR transition and succession. Our role is not only to to be by their side on a day-to-day basis but also to work together in order to be better equipped for the future.

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Charles Sunnen
Business Adviser