UStart Alumnus

From his academic journey …

François-Xavier Devillers is a 24-year-old student from Liège. He is studying at HELMo Sainte-Marie where he is in the process of completing his bachelor’s degree in Foreign Trade.

His academic career will therefore probably end in January 2020. Indeed, his choice of studies was mainly based on the desire to learn the basics of the economic world from a business point of view and especially to obtain his diploma, this paper which always remains the best entry point to the world of work.

Once he has done that, he no longer plans to stay in school but to enter the job market!

…to Octopus and his status as self-employed person …

Octopus is a foldable and reusable cup holder . With a capacity of up to 6 cups, this inexpensive gadget is practical, easily transportable and multi-purpose, making it a great friend of student witches….

FX received some Octopus from a family friend, the creator of the Octopus, whom he began to bring with him during his student outings. Very quickly, the gadget, then little known at that time, very quickly made curious people but especially many interested. 

The young student then had the idea of starting to sell to his friends this famous Octopus which would quickly become very coveted by the students of Liège mainly. An immediate success!

After seeing the opportunity the market offered him, the student decided to enter into a partnership with the creator of the Octopus. This partnership allowed it to have the exclusive right to sell this gadget, which, it is important to remember, has its design protected throughout the European Union.

When he noticed that he was starting to sell many Octopus, he made the decision to set up as an independent and thus create a first small management experience. 

What were his motivations for wanting to start his own business?

First, its activity was growing more and more. Secondly, as a student, he could benefit from the status of “student entrepreneur” which gave him certain advantages (low contributions, lower taxation regime, etc.) while bearing very little risk given his activity as a sales representative limited to buying and selling in a growing market.

A growing market, certainly, but with its requirements and desires! This is why the Octopus of tomorrow wants to enter today’s ecological era by insisting on the reusability of its product, which replaces other cardboard or disposable plastic cup holders. On the other hand, Octopus wants to expand its range by proposing other designs to reach new markets and by opening a webshop to develop the concept internationally.  

First concrete experience for our Alumni who discovered, on its own scale, the “nuts and bolts” of entrepreneurship. 

… passing through the Young Kiwanis Club Liège-Condroz …

The Young Kiwanis Club Liège-Condroz, the descendant of the Kiwanis Club Liège-Condroz, was founded in September 2017 by our Alumni and 7 other young people. Young KLC is part of the American Kiwanis organization that organizes events to raise funds for the children’s cause. Kiwanis has about thirty local clubs in Liege, each of which contributes its share to “serving the children of the world”.

Bathed in the activities of the Kiwanis Club Liège Condroz with his father, founder and president of the Young KLC in 2017 and now in charge of Public Relations for the past two years, François-Xavier created this club to help children placed by the judge who did not have the chance to enjoy a childhood like most.  Composed of young people between 18 and 28 years old, the club organizes various activities (offering children gifts for St. Nicholas’ Day, for Christmas or even afternoons making cakes) to bring a little joy to the daily lives of these underprivileged children. 

Our Alumni wanted to show that young people too could get involved in major social causes. This was a success, especially since he gained great personal satisfaction by helping children who had not had the same chance as him.

… to make a stopover at UStart Liège

An entrepreneur for the past year and a half, François-Xavier was still looking for other serious experiences to complete his extracurricular activities but also to boost his activity as a self-employed person.
That’s how in 2018, he joined the UStart Liège club.
Member of the sponsorship team the first year, he is now at the head of the treasury of the Liège club for this year 2019-2020.
From his time in UStart, our young entrepreneur has already had some great experiences. Our guest cites as examples the skills required for teamwork, the relationship with partners, networking or the new event knowledge he has developed. For him, they are all equally important for his professional activities.

Last words from our Alumni

Defining the word “to undertake” as a personal motivation to achieve ambitious projects and objectives to bring about a renewal in society, our young Alumni does not intend to stop there. He plans to continue to develop his self-employed activity by offering his services to new companies and to grow the clubs in which he is active.

But for now, his attention is on the studies he plans to finish as soon as possible and especially to continue to have fun and enjoy his various projects and activities.

Step by step, François-Xavier continues to progress by taking various paths full of experience but always keeping a single guideline: always go further.