TOP Slovenia Interview: JANEZ ŠKRABEC, The CEO of Riko

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Janez Skrabec CEO Riko Hise

We recently set down with director of Riko, Janez Škrabec

Riko Hiše are producers of quality, individually designed low-energy and ecologicalprefabricated wooden buildings. From their beginnings back in 1997 they have been committed to producing prefabricated wooden constructions. They operate primarily in the for Soviet Union and Yugoslavian markets but are also now internationally acclaimed and one of Slovenia’s leading design companies. Along with renowned architects and designers, their products and solutions succeed in elevating housing standards, encourages new achievements in design and help to spread awareness about the use of ecological materials, as well as promoting the importance of environmentally responsible construction.

The company’s CEO, Janez Škrabec, who has many awards and accolades to his name, is also President of the Slovenian Consular Assembly, President of the Alumni Club of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana and the President of the Slovenian-Russain Business Council. He is also Chairman of the Event Committee for the Lions Club of Ljubljana.


Riko

Janez Škrabec interview

WHAT TYPE OF ENTREPRENEUR ARE YOU?
I consider myself as a trader and an integrator. My entrepreneur’s creed intertwines these two missions. Many of my colleagues and corporate icons were shaped by their fascination with technology products and their production. My entrepreneurial side has always been attracted by the market and by the opportunities it offers. This has transformed Riko from a formermanufacturing company into a modern engineering company.

RIKO IS COOPERATING WITH FAMOUS DESIGNERS LIKE STARCK. HOW IMPORTANT IS DESIGN FOR YOU?
You are surely familiar with the statement made by the father of the industrial design, Raymond Loewy, who said that his favourite form of design „consists of a beautiful sales curve shooting upwards“. This statement is very expressive. The company Riko is “design aware” and we consider design as a high added value. For this reason, we are proud of our collaboration with Philippe Starck, which resulted in the P.A.T.H. line of houses by Starck with Riko. Nowadays, design is no longer only considered as an aesthetic and/or economic asset. It has a strong social reflection and takes full responsibility when rethinking its own commercial, cultural, technological and ethical mission. This is why I attach great value and importance to good design.

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WHAT IS THE SECRET OF THE SUCCESS FOR YOUR FAMILY COMPANY?
It’s as simple as it gets – perseverance. All great business stories and commercial successes are based on this quality. This goes along with dedication to work and having a mission, acting responsibly and of course also having a bit of luck. The latter is not essential, but it comes in handy.

MADE IN SLOVENIA
The 9th Triennial of Contemporary Art is just taking place in the Modern Gallery. Initially, this manifestation was intended as an overview of contemporary Slovene art. But 25 years after the first triennial, we can see that the contemporary art in the present is strongly reflectively involved in the analysis and in the commentary of reality, but no longer has a national haracter.
This is exactly what drives me to reconsider the meaning of „Made in Slovenia“ and the message that it contains. Authenticity and genuineness are definitely worth pursuing, but sometimes we cannot exactly place them within the national context. To put it shortly, this theme should be reconsidered on a regular basis.

HOW IMPORTANT IS INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION FOR YOU?
The world is changing with such a fast pace that the knowledge loses all value if it is not constantly perfected and upgraded. It is therefore important to consider the education as a never- -ending process. The international component is all the more welcome because it freshens up the knowledge in a different way and makes it possible to gain different experiences.

AS THE HONORARY CONSUL OF MOROCCO AND BELARUS, WHAT PARTS OF SLOVENIA DO YOU CONSIDER MOST FOR THE VISITORS FROM THESE COUNTRIES?
Regardless of where the tourists come from, the „priority“ list includes the following destinations (not necessarily in this order): Bled, Postojna and its cave, Goriška brda, the coast and the capital. We have also offered this as the main places of interest. But the modern tourists are increasingly curious and adventurous, and they often prefer the sideways to the highways. Luckily, this means that other destinations are also becoming popular for tourists. As for the guests from Belarus – this country is slowly but steadily opening up to the world. They still need a visa to visit Slovenia and the other EU countries, but I am glad that the number of their visits has increased significantly over the years.

HOW IMPORTANT IS CHARITY FOR YOU?
Solidarity, companionship and general concern for the well-being of others and of the ones different from us should be placed highly on our scale of personal and social values. I dare say
that I follow this both in my personal life as well as the creator of Riko’s future. This is a part of my personal and professional demeanour. However, charity is very vulnerable and depends on the capital potency of its donors. And this potency may disappear completely from one moment to the next. I am always drawn to the idea of creating the conditions that will generate new opportunities. Good solutions are often hidden in the practices of social entrepreneurship.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR RIKO?
I believe that in the future, we will further strengthen Riko‘s reputation as one of the strongest engineering companies in the wider region.

Source: THE Slovenia Book