We met Yves Lalieu, a Belgian entrepreneur.
I launched my company to help traders optimise their electronic payment solutions through a service called Mon Terminal De Paiement (monterminaldepaiement.be, mijnbetaalterminal.be).
Before starting this business, I had worked for 20 years as a product manager at MasterCard Europe.
After cooperating with major European and worldwide retailers, I realised that merchants are actually losers in the electronic payment sector. In other words, those who accept cards never or very rarely ask their clients to pay for the cost of the transaction. Electronic payment is very specific and complicated, very few traders have the knowledge of it in-house. My mission is to offer them a consulting product to help them maximise at their advantage the check out process as well as reducing their costs.
What does an entrepreneur’s day look like in Brussels?
An entrepreneur is a bit like a one-man band, you must be able to do everything. Nevertheless, if you want to get external assistance, you can always rely on freelancers or small companies for a hand. But the truth is that when you start a business, you are often limited by a tight budget. You have to make choices and decide where your money would be most efficiently spent and profitable. When you have worked for a big company for so long, you often end up with specialised expertise in one specific domain. But then you also have colleagues that are there to help you and that have assets in other fields that you can rely on. When you launch a business, you quickly realise that things are more complicated than expected and that you will need help and knowledge.
Your company’s offices are established in a business center, why did you choose that kind of solution? What are the limits of working at home?
At first, I tried working home, but I soon realised that it wasn’t the ideal environment for me. Working from home can be useful for some tasks, but on the long term you end up lacking the human contact. It is crucial for me to be surrounded by people, otherwise my energy and motivation disappears. Being independent doesn’t mean being lonely!
From the very first day at Silversquare I felt a dynamic energy created by all these people united in a professional environment. Since then I have been meeting so many people with different backgrounds with whom I can share advice, confront ideas, or ask for an opinion, which is wonderful and motivating.
One day, I was having trouble trying to give my email a more professional look. I was waisting so much time and was getting really frustrated. I ended up asking for help around me, and a skilled person was immediately able to find a solution to my problem…that’s what you can call a co-working spirit.
The location is also a great asset. You are in the centre of Brussels, the access by car or public transport is pretty easy, parking spaces are available (which is important when a client comes to visit you).