The Young Manager of the Year 2022 is Primož Zelenšek
At the January Gathering, the MAS awarded Primož Zelenšek, director of the Chipolo company, the Young Manager of 2022 Award. Sabina Gros, director of the BPT group, and Melvis Haskić and Vasja Hramec, founders and directors of the company Avantpack, were also finalists in the selection, which highlights and rewards successful individuals at the beginning of their managerial career.
Primož Zelenšek, co-founder and director of Chipolo, is an ambitious and dedicated entrepreneur who is always looking for new ideas and solutions. For more than a decade, a semi-professional player of the handball club Rudar from Trbovlje, has tried his hand at a leadership role already in his student years as the president of the student association Elektra. Today, his vision is to create the best possible personal belongings search experience.
More than successful breakthrough into the American and Canadian markets
Primož Zelenšek, a graduate of electrical engineering at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of Ljubljana, gained his experience as a project manager at Viapss and in 2011 as a co-founder and director of the company Nolie Apps, which adapted the very popular Activity Original game into a digital, tablet-friendly format .
In 2014, as one of the co-founders of the Chipolo company, he took over the position of its director. The latter started their entrepreneurial story in 2013 with a successful Kickstarter campaign, through which they collected almost 300,000 US dollars. They entered the market with smart key fobs that connect to an app on the phone and which allow the user to easily locate stored keys or the phone. Their largest market - where they generate as much as 50% of revenues - is the USA and Canada, and they generate a 40% share of sales in the EU market. For the current year, they expect to increase their market share on the American market, as they have just managed to penetrate the three largest American chains: Best Buy, Inmotion and Apple stores. They ended 2021 with 6.1 million euros in revenue, with a return on assets of 17.9% and a return on capital of 45%. Last year, the revenues of the Slovenian company exceeded 7.5 million euros, together with the American branch they came close to 10 million euros, and they already have almost 50 employees.
Caring for the preservation of the world's oceans
In 2020, Chipolo launched the Chipolo ONE Ocean Edition - the first key finder made from waste fishing nets. With it they wanted to check how the use of recycled materials in these types of technological products works. In the field of sustainability, they have plans for the following years as well. They are working to build their own rooftop power plant and become carbon neutral by 2025. With donations, they support both the local and wider environment, and during the Covid period they co-financed the purchase of a hospital ventilator. They also allocate a significant portion of their funds to the ocean conservation organization, Oceanic Global.
Mentor to many companies
The Chipolo collective was formed from a group of friends, which significantly influenced the entire further development of the company's culture. Their most important values are friendship and openness, which can be detected at all levels of operation: in the management's relationship with employees, mutual relationships between employees, and the company's relationships with partners and users. Primož Zelenšek's personal mission is to ensure the best working conditions for employees, guide them towards their goals and transfer knowledge to other young entrepreneurs. Colleagues appreciate that he doesn't just stick to words and encouragement, but that he himself takes on the work and help in solving challenges.
Zelenšek is also a mentor to companies, his portfolio includes Ollo Audio, Zoya Baby, DeltaHub, Karjolo... His main advice is: "Don't let initial failures stop you, persevere, be confident, don't be afraid." In his opinion, every company should also think about the impact of its activity on the environment, one of the sources that we take for granted too much.
About the Young Manager Award
With the Young Manager award, the MAS puts young, successful, perspective and penetrating managers on the map of Slovenian management. With it, we highlight and reward successful individuals at the beginning of their managerial journey, who build trust and respect within and outside the collective, and build their business results and successes on the highest standards of sustainable leadership.
Previous recipients of the Young Manager award
• Last year's recipient of the Young Manager Award was Miha Senčar, commercial director of Tenzor.
• All previous recipients of the award. (link)
• The recipient of the award is decided by the votes of the commission (70% of the value of the final ranking), the votes of the participants of the January Gathering (20%) and the votes of the general public (10%). The commission consists of: Lucija Sajevec (president), dr. Polona Domadenik, dr. Maja Fesel Kamenik, Diana Jecič, Katja Jelerčič, Klemen Medved, Aleš Muhič, and Tanja Subotić Levanič.