of whom are family members. In addition, the company manages a subcontracting network for metal parts, which produces the electronic and plastic components used in the assembly of valves. In 1997, the company moved to new premises in an industrial zone that should cover its requirements for the following 10 – 15 years. Personal History of Stane Jaksa In 1965, the founder and his wife wanted to earn more than their jobs provided, so they resigned. The entrepreneur had had a job in a company producing fire-alarm equipment. The craft shop started to produce fashionable electrical rings, but was searching for new products. A company called Gorenje, a large producer of domestic appliances, decided to produce washing- machines. They were looking for subcontractors, to make valves and pumps. Jacksa chose to make the valves. In February 1966, after a number of setbacks they developed a prototype and
148 the production was scheduled for November 1966. Production expanded from 7000 pieces to 450,000 within 10 years, with Jaksa being the exclusive supplier to Gorenje. During 25 years of cooperation with Gorenje, Jacksa maintained the continuous development of new types of valves, although he was unhappy about the attitude of the large company towards subcontractors. He extended his product range to Siemens in Germany during the period 1975 to 1997, competing with Italian and American producers. This trade had to cease due to the price being „squeezed‟ by Siemens. Jaksa was not very happy, as competitors constantly undercut his company‟s profit margins. Then the busine ss with Gorenje became uncertain due to delayed payments during a period of high inflation that exercised continuous pressure on the company‟s liquidity. Jacksa decided to focus on customer -designed application of valves. In 1990, he had a 25 percent market share of the Yugoslav state and 25 percent of sales in other export markets. The independence of the Slovenian state caused substantial loss within these markets and the company started to search for new customers in other European countries. By 1995, it was again on a stable development path. Entrepreneur’s Personality Stane Jacksa is an entrepreneur toughened through hard work, competitive struggles and disputes with the prevailing politics of the time. His personality involves the characteristics of an entrepreneur, such as: (technical) creativity and innovation; resource gathering; the founding of an economic organization; the chance for gain under risk and uncertainty. He often remarked that the timing of his start-up was wrong, as 1965 was the year of the economic reform which restricted growth and investments. This made it very difficult for new firms to find a niche in the market. However, he managed to find and identify a venture where his technical skills played an important role, and his tenacity secured the first contract with the large customer.