AMBERO’s 10-year Anniversary! Interview with the founder and general manager Bernhard Amler
This month AMBERO celebrates its 10th anniversary. A good occasion to conduct a short interview with Mr. Amler.
Mr. Amler, you look back on over 25 years as expert and independent consultant on the international stage. Why did you decide to found AMBERO?
Several factors led to this decision. I just came back from abroad, with about 100 consultancy missions under my belt I wanted to move on to something different that allowed for more creative leeway and continuity. My work as consultant for a range of clients was very instructive; I acquainted myself with many interesting approaches and developed strategic solutions. I wanted to invest this experience, tackling larger and longer-term change processes; I wanted to continue learning and to integrate these experiences into new methods and practices. On a freelance basis all this did not seem sufficiently sustainable to me, which is why I founded AMBERO as a limited liability company.
10 years of AMBERO: Still relatively young, yet a round lot. Today, AMBERO is among the top 10 consulting companies of GIZ and works in 30 countries and currently 24 projects with a staff of 50 people worldwide, a turnover of almost 3.9 million Euro in 2012. Did you imagine 10 years ago that AMBERO would stand where it is today? What explains this remarkable success?
I neither expected it nor was it planned. However, the consulting industry is notorious for its ups and downs, hence we decided to surf the wave of success. As far as I know we are the only new consulting company that has successfully established itself in Germany in the last 10 years. Our success is probably based on our idea of doing things differently, combined with competency, creativity and networks in many countries and sectors. We also particularly build on trust, integrity and respectful cooperation on eye-level.
What were the biggest challenges along the way? Were there moments when you were fed up with the business and felt like returning to your work as individual consultant?
Whether perceived or real, setbacks are part of the game. Important is only not to get discouraged. There have certainly been moments of frustration when the necessary leeway was missing or when operating under ‘practical constraints’. Our work always deals with people, their motivation, their competencies and values. To mobilize, amplify and reconcile these effectively is, and has always been, a challenge – but a challenge that I still like facing.
And what exactly do you consider the benefits of AMBERO’s philosophy and structure?
Individual responsibility and room for innovative ideas by the employees are very important to us. We maintain a very lean structure. Due to our ‘one-stop’ principle we can take decisions very efficiently. This allows us often to react faster than others. In addition, we have also participated in international tenders (World Bank, AfD, UN) from the very beginning and did not mind complicated application procedures and well-known competitors. And we were successful!
A general question about the consulting industry for development cooperation: Don’t you see a contradiction between running a profitable consulting company and the implementing projects that aim at improving the living conditions in partner countries?
In my opinion, in a social market economy this is just a supposed contradiction since profitability has several aspects. In the first place, a company must certainly ensure its survival. Secondly, profitability is a function of an internal quality standard that demands delivering high-quality and coherent products for the international development cooperation. Lastly, we operate under competition, which automatically regulates the prices. And if we are simply not good enough, nobody needs us and will consequently vanish from the market.
Final question: Where do you see AMBERO in 2023?
I see AMBERO as an established, well recognized company with a specific, high-quality consulting portfolio that covers the worldwide demand. One of our goals has always been to operate more actively and to develop and implement own initiatives with local partners.
Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Amler.
Themen: AMBERO’s 10-year Anniversary!