Luxembourg-based Vodafone Procurement Company (VPC) was founded in 2008 and manages most of the communications technology company‘s spending with suppliers worldwide. Luxembourg also hosts Vodafone Roaming Services and the technology scale-up accelerator Tomorrow Street. Together, the three entities employ over 400 people from all over the world. “Only the United Nations can compete with us!” jokes Global SCM Networks Procurement Director Tolga Tomruk.
Wherever we do business around the world, someone will know someone. That is really helpful.
VPC manages a spend of over €25 billion and deals on a daily basis with over 20 Vodafone markets as well as with external customers and third parties, which extends the geographic reach further. “Building this entity here has been a success for Vodafone,” confirms Mr Tomruk. “The cultural diversity of our team means that we can speak nearly every language that we interact with and understand how business is made in each specific region and country.”
Most new hires come to Luxembourg from abroad. “Everyone who comes here brings a network with them of potential clients or partners,” says Kenneth Graham, CEO of Tomorrow Street. “Wherever we do business around the world, someone will know someone. That is really helpful.”
Sourcing talent and skills
VPC attracts a lot of young graduates to Luxembourg. “This is easy: we offer them a job in an exciting company located in a very nice and dynamic environment,” says Mr Tomruk. “Moving experienced people who come with their families here can at times be more challenging. We have to act as ambassadors and explain what it is like to live and work in Luxembourg. However, people soon see the benefits of letting their children grow up in a multicultural environment, and Luxembourg’s investment in international schools over the past few years is much appreciated.”
Exciting scale-ups are attracted by the connectivity Luxembourg offers with a thriving start-up ecosystem, global companies and a supportive government.
In order to connect further with home-grown talent, Mr Tomruk has joined the advisory group of the Luxembourg Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the University of Luxembourg. “We were invited to help shape the curriculum and the priorities to be taught, and have committed to interviewing all its graduates to see who can fit in our organisation. They are exactly trained to what we need.”
Tomorrow Street, a joint venture between Vodafone and Luxembourg’s technology incubator Technoport, is another means for finding talent, skills and innovation. “Our purpose is to identify exciting scale-ups that fit Vodafone’s technology needs, and host them in our innovation centre where we work together to help them scale their technology solutions across Vodafone,” says Mr Graham. “They come here to kick start and grow their business with Vodafone, and are attracted by the connectivity Luxembourg offers with a thriving start-up ecosystem, global companies and a supportive government.”
So far, Tomorrow Street has attracted 8 scale-ups to Luxembourg and is about to sign partnerships with two more. “They come from the Middle East, the UK, the US and Canada and we provide them with the base they need to grow across Europe.”
Opportunities for growth
Mr Graham sees great potential for growth in Luxembourg. “The Luxembourg ecosystem is super ambitious and focused on exciting new technologies,” he underlines.
Contrary to all the other countries where I have lived, I don’t feel like a foreigner here. This is our country – and that makes a big difference.
Being here is also an opportunity for personal growth. “Mixing with so many cultures, languages and experiences allow us to learn something new every day,” says Mr Graham. Mr Tomruk, who moved eight times internationally, points out that wherever you come from, you can find a community in Luxembourg. “Contrary to all the other countries where I have lived, I don’t feel like a foreigner here. This is our country – and that makes a big difference.”
Photo: © Luxinnovation/Michel Zavagno