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Pauwels Consulting and Akros Solutions have reached an agreement to merge their activities. As of today, Akros Solutions will work as an autonomous company within the Pauwels Consulting group.
We had a short interview with Bert Pauwels, founder and managing director of Pauwels Consulting, and Sebastian Jacquin and Amélie Alleman, founders and directors at Akros Solutions.
Bert, Sebastian and Amélie, congratulations on this new partnership! Could you please introduce yourself?
Amélie: Sure. My name is Amélie. After college, I started working at an American staffing company as a junior recruiter. I liked my job, but after a while I wanted to go one step further.
In 2008, I started thinking about starting my own firm. I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to bring more added value and personality to the game. As a result, in 2009, Sebastian and I quit our jobs and we started Akros Solutions.
Sebastian: My name is Sebastian. I was born in England. I have done many different jobs in my life. I have had my own small restaurant, I have worked in sales and at a certain moment I ended up at the same staffing firm as Amélie.
Gradually, I moved up the corporate ladder to office manager, European team leader and European director. I managed our offices in Brussels, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Germany and very briefly in Paris. I had a great time but in 2009 it was time for a change. I wanted to start a business of my own again.
Bert: My name is Bert. I have been in the game since 1999, when I started Pauwels Consulting as an IT recruitment and consultancy company. In 2004 and 2005, we expanded our focus to engineering and life sciences recruitment and consulting respectively.
Apart from work, I like sports, spending time with my family, and a combination of both. I am an avid runner and I try to motivate as many people as possible to live a healthy and sporty life, a.o. by sponsoring events such as the Pauwels Consulting Ghent Marathon on October 28th.
Could you please explain the activities of your companies?
Amélie: Akros Solutions is an IT recruitment and consultancy firm. It is our job to find the right people and the best staffing solutions for our clients in various industries. It has always been our mission to become the leading firm in the Brussels IT consultancy and recruitment market.
Sebastian: We have always offered permanent recruitment and contract recruitment services. Nowadays, staffing companies often focus on one form of recruitment or technology. We deliberately chose to deliver both types of staffing solutions and to focus on good relationships with our clients instead. We take our time to truly understand our clients’ needs and demands, and to advise our clients regardless of the return for us.
Why this approach?
Sebastian: When we started, we were too small to throw around resumes in the market. Obviously, we didn’t want to do this either. We wanted to add a genuine personal touch to our business instead.
There is a human being with wishes and ambitions behind every cv. It is not just our job to find IT consultants for our clients’ projects… it is our job to make sure that our candidates and clients get along and that they both feel and stay happy at work.
What about Pauwels Consulting, Bert?
Bert: We have the same focus and values at Pauwels Consulting. We want to be more than just a staffing agency; we want to deliver honest advice and great service to both our clients and our consultants. We always focus on long-term relationships. It is the best policy for a healthy growth.
Amélie, when and why did you decide to start looking for a partner?
Amélie: This idea first popped up in January 2016. Sebastian and I have always loved our work at Akros Solutions, but we felt that it was time for a next step. Hence our decision to look for an experienced company with an ambitious management that can help us get to the next level.
We had our first meeting with Pauwels Consulting in March or April this year, et voilà, here we are. This merger will help us take the next step in our growth and it will help us serve our clients in more areas than before.
This brings me to my next question: why did you choose for Pauwels Consulting?
Sebastian: Because we like Bert (laughs). No, all jokes aside, Amélie and I felt an instant connection with Bert and his team. We still have big dreams and ambitions for Akros Solutions, so we were looking for an experienced and ambitious partner with a healthy firm and a clear vision. Someone we could imagine ourselves working with for many years to come. We look forward to continuing our growth with the help of Bert and the Pauwels Consulting group.
Bert, why did you choose to enter this partnership?
Bert: Since our partnership with 3D Investments in January 2016 we focus on organic growth and growth through strategic acquisitions. We are always on the lookout for dynamic recruitment and consultancy firms with a smart and ambitious management. Sebastian Jacquin and Amélie Alleman bring a lot of experience, a strong network and a clear vision to the table.
In addition, Akros Solutions has a great reputation and their IT specialties and customer base are complementary to ours. Pauwels Consulting is very active as an IT recruitment and consultancy company in Flanders, but not so much in Brussels and Wallonia. This merger will help us strengthen our position as IT recruitment and consultancy company in Brussels and Wallonia, and it will help us to reach new clients.
Amélie and Sebastian, will this merger change things for your consultants and clients?
Amélie: I only see benefits. Sebastian and I will both stay on board to pursue our goals with Akros Solutions. We will continue working as an autonomous company within the Pauwels Consulting group.
If anything, this merger will help us serve our clients even better. We will no doubt benefit from the network, knowhow and internal processes of Pauwels Consulting. This will make it easier for us to find ‘hard-to-find’ consultants for our clients in a limited amount of time.
Sebastian: I also see many opportunities for our consultants. Pauwels Consulting invests in knowledge growth and knowledge sharing between their consultants. Our consultants will enter a vibrant network of almost 500 consultants and clients we haven’t worked for yet. Great career opportunities ahead!
Sounds great. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Bert: I am very happy with this merger. Not only because of the benefits for our clients, consultants and business, but also because I can start working with Amélie and Sebastian. I have a knack for smart, dynamic and ambitious people. I am very sure this partnership will be very successful.
Amélie: What can I add to that (laughs)… I feel the same way. Pauwels Consulting is a company with a rich history and an enormous potential, but I am particularly thrilled to start working with Bert and his team.
Sebastian: I think there is nothing left to say (laugh). Evidently, I agree with Bert and Amélie. And should you (or the reader) have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We look forward to answering all the questions you may have.
Bert, Sebastian and Amélie, thank you very much for this interview and all the best with this new partnership.