Kamel Amroune (Farvest): a career at double speed
Having come to Luxembourg for an internship in a communications company, he went on to become the CEO! An interview with an athlete — in the stadium and in the business world.
How do you view your journey towards your role as CEO today?
I had a happy childhood in Longwy in a very close-knit family and I was a bit of a mathematician at heart. Nevertheless, I attended a good business school in Lille and I ran at a high level. At a certain point, I had to choose between my fascinating studies and a promising future in athletics: I preferred the joys of student life to the rigours of training! 15 years later, I found myself in Luxembourg, as enthusiastic about marketing and entrepreneurship as I had been about athletics and competing. I started at Farvest in 2007 as an intern and I became the CEO in January 2018. The group was founded by Fabien Amoretti in the early noughties with a very creative and entrepreneurial approach to the profession. As someone who loves adventure and pressure, I’ve dedicated myself to the company with a particular focus on the tech world. I managed IT One and co-founded ICT Spring with him, before expanding initiatives like hackathons and developing international connections. Fabien decided to appoint me in January as CEO with total freedom to operate. The world is all about encounters — even more so in Luxembourg.
“Anyone who loves competition — and who knows how to play by the rules — is likely to succeed as an entrepreneur."
Do you still present Luxembourg to foreign contacts who don’t know the country?
From banking to space, from the beauty of the landscape to its cultural diversity, everyone has heard of Luxembourg, at the very least, so it happens less and less. It’s difficult to paint just one portrait because describing a place which is teeming with activity isn’t easy! It’s a country with a long history and a very innovative ecosystem. A country whose openness, multiculturalism and multilingualism are present at all times, at every meeting and at every dinner, all without anyone noticing — diversity is the norm. Everything happens very quickly, because everything is accessible, from the ultra-modern counter to the minister's office: entrepreneurs aren’t faced with a behemoth; instead, they work in an agile country which is always ready to embark upon a shared adventure, looking to the future in economic, technological or human terms. Luxembourg combines the advantages of an economically and technologically advanced country without any of the disadvantages. It’s a very welcoming country where work is always rewarded. If you manage to gain the trust of the Luxembourg ecosystem, every door will be open to you. The Luxembourger is an entrepreneur and likes the good things in life: family and the land are sacred and although the country is hyper digitised, human encounters are the foundation of it all.
Is there a formula for doing business in the Grand Duchy or working with local companies?
Stay true to your yourself and show respect for everyone when working. That’s one of the keys to success. Things which may seem unfair at a certain point in time may seem more reasonable in hindsight. You have to know how to be patient and, above all, empathise with your clients, potential clients, partners and even potential competitors. Luxembourg is a small country: everyone knows one other, everyone is interconnected. It’s a very agile nation with great ambition. Anyone who loves competition — and who knows how to play by the rules — is likely to succeed as an entrepreneur. Those who come to ICT Spring on 15th and 16th May will really be able to feel the beating heart of innovation in the centre of Europe: in essence, Luxembourg is a start-up nation, in a haven of well-being.