1. What inspired you to start your own business?

The Filakov family comes from the Baranja region, from the small village of Gajic. There they started their business before the Homeland War (1991-1995), which was engaged in the production of crisps and pigs. During the war, production came to a halt and the family was expelled; they lived in the city of Osijek. After the peaceful reintegration of Baranja and the possibility to come home, the family started greenhouse vegetable production in Gajic. Market research showed that there was little or no competition in the domestic market, so they put all their efforts and hopes into vegetable production.

Darko Filakov – next generation in the company
  1. You’ve been an entrepreneur for some time already. What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur, I like the opportunity to help my community, employ people and provide them with income, but I also like the opportunity to grow, create new value and invest in equipment and buildings. I also like the opportunity to grow my business, learn, but also enrich my social capital. After 20 years of hard work, effort and abandonment, I can say that I have created a brand with recognition, which is the biggest motive to continue.

  1. What do you think it takes to be a good entrepreneur, e.g. skills or characteristics?

It is not easy to be an entrepreneur, and it is not for everyone. An entrepreneur must invest at least 12 to 16 hours in his business. You have to give your best, regardless of stress and fatigue. One has to put a lot of sacrifice, diligence, communication and perseverance into the business. One must be innovative, have financial knowledge, and be willing to be a lifelong learner – to work on oneself and take a high risk.

  1. Do you think that can-do mindset to be your greatest strength as an entrepreneur or do you see greatest strength in another area?

It is important to be decisive when making a decision, but also to do a lot of analysis and research before making a big or important decision. Sometimes it is not possible to make a right decision because the market is very uncertain and brings great challenges. An entrepreneur must always be prepared for big changes and react quickly to sudden changes.

Final product ready for transportation
  1. Where have you learned the most how to be an entrepreneur and what stimulated your growth the most?

I learned the most from my own mistakes and bad decisions, and that was very expensive, but I also learned a lot. I also have to emphasise the collaboration with the university (different faculties), the consultants and the professional services. To survive in the market, the entrepreneur has to work and invest. This is my biggest motivation for the growth and development of my company.

Hydroponic cultivation of tomatoes
  1. What are the concrete things that you do to build your growth mindset/improve your mental strength?

As an entrepreneur, you have to learn to live with the stress and challenges that are part of everyday business life. When I feel I have too much stress and am overworked, I enjoy the benefits of working in a rural area – I like to walk through nature and ride my bike. Sports help me to relax, but also to develop new ideas and find motivation.

 

Header photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels