The path of ambition

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

At the age of 24, Benyamin Atary has already launched his business as a real estate agent. As a refugee from Iran, he knew from an early age that he would become independent. A real strength of character. Portrait.  

He is neat and tidy, as they say. Clean-cut hair with just the right amount of gel, impeccable black suit, glasses, only a tattoo on his right hand betrays a little bit of craziness. Benyamin Atary is young, but he is comfortable telling his story. It has been six years since he settled in the Grand Duchy, somewhat by chance. After refusing military service in Iran for essentially political reasons, the young man decided that there was only one solution: to flee his country. He is even ready to leave on foot but his parents dissuade him. It is by air that he will comfortably reach Luxembourg and thus obtain his refugee status. But why the Grand Duchy? "We have distant relatives who were already here, so I was able to make the connection and stay with them for a while when I arrived. Of course I knew nothing about the country at first, I had to look it up on a map to see that it was not a region of Germany!"

Benyamin is ambitious, so from the moment he arrives he tries to gain his independence. As a waiter and then bar manager at the Chiche restaurant, which has the particularity of employing only refugees, he learns the trade and builds up his address book. Naturally, his projects are focused on the hotel and catering industry: "I had a lot of ideas in mind to start my own business, such as importing and exporting cars, and then I joined forces to buy a foodtruck to travel to festivals. Unfortunately the arrival of Covid ruined these plans", he says. But he doesn't let it get him down, on the contrary. He quickly sold the truck and looked for solutions.

The importance of the network

He relies on his network. He met the real estate magnate and co-manager of Chiche, Pitt Pirrotte, who became his mentor. He was very involved in the Chiche project at the time, although today he only owns 2 per cent of the restaurant. Pitt Pirrotte took Benyamin under his wing and offered him a job in an architect's office in the middle of a pandemic, when Chiche had to close for many weeks. Benyamin studied computer science in Iran, he has no notion of architecture or real estate, but he is eager to learn: "I learned all the ins and outs of construction in Luxembourg, especially the administrative aspects. It taught me a lot about the sector and it also allowed me to easily pass my real estate agent's diploma thanks to the experience I gained", a diploma that he passed in two years with the Chamber of Commerce's courses.

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