Still afloat

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

Over the last two years, we've met a number of entrepreneurs. People who have thrown themselves head first into a risky venture. It was time to ask them for an update.

Starting your own company requires a certain amount of courage and determination, but also a little recklessness. In a country like Luxembourg, dominated by the national and European civil service, the financial sector and its generous collective agreements, and a relatively low unemployment rate (5% in Luxembourg, 6.5% in the euro zone), the setting is not exactly conducive to entrepreneurship. And yet. Over the past two years, the Lëtzebuerger Journal has met men and women who have set up their own businesses. Because they had a brilliant idea, because their CV was not attractive to recruiters, because they wanted to take their destiny into their own hands and become their own boss. It's a journey fraught with pitfalls and frankly risky, in the wake of an unprecedented Covid crisis. When we met them, these entrepreneurs were often just starting out. Some of them had been supported, for example, by the Touchpoints association, which helps refugees and people in precarious situations. People who will find it easier to find work if they create it for themselves.

Epiphanie Negham was one of them. The young woman sacrificed everything to open her small shop selling African products in the centre of Wiltz. When we visited her last summer, we first had to find the right address, as the shop front was then hidden by scaffolding, which was to remain there for several weeks. Her shop, Fanny's Produits Naturels, was a little out of place in the narrow streets of the centre of Wiltz, and the local council had boosted Épiphanie's presence with flyers concocted at the time of the opening, in order to raise her profile. After all, she has chosen to invest in the north of the country to offer products that are usually found in Luxembourg and the south.

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