From France to Ivory Coast. Karim Abbassi joins ELKO EP

Don’t let the exotic name fool you. Karim Abbassi speaks perfect Czech, after all, he lived half of his life in Prague. As of the beginning of May, this forty-eight year old seasoned manager has joined ELKO EP as Regional Sales Director.

The job order is clear: to target France and francophone countries on the African continent. And to raise the profile of the extremely successful Czech exporter in the field of relays, electronic devices and intelligent wiring in markets where it has so far only been marginally active and where the distribution of its products has been handled mainly by wholesalers.

On the other hand, Karim Abbassi has already proved in the past that he really understands this region and can do successful business from here. Whether it was during his time working for the leading telecommunications company 2N or more recently for Green Industry.

“I approached ELKO EP myself because I have been following his activities for a long time – and I like the fact that he is first and foremost a developer who has been continuously stepping into new patents and innovations for thirty years. It’s not a company that lives off some one-off success, but it has a clear product roadmap and is able to bring something revolutionary to market every year. In addition, I was intrigued by its business strategy, as it is opening branches in many markets and trying to operate directly in them. Despite the fact that this requires a lot of investment and time,” explains Karim Abbassi.

From Linkedin to the final deal

And because his impressions were confirmed after meeting with the founder and owner of ELKO EP, Jiří Konečný, both parties agreed to direct cooperation in the spring of this year. This will allow Karim Abbassi to return to the region where he has many contacts. After all, he has an unusually large number of contacts – over twenty thousand – on the professional network Linkedin alone.

“Since I am responsible for a wide region, starting with France and ending with Côte d’Ivoire, I have to work as efficiently as possible. I’m not saying that direct business on the ground and a right-hand shake doesn’t make the difference in the end, but you have to have a beaten path to it. And that’s where the world of today’s online tools or professional networks is an extraordinary help. It can help you assess the situation and look at the relevance of a partner before you physically meet them. That’s a terrific advantage because then you don’t spend wasted time going out to contacts that aren’t really that valuable,” giving a peek under the hood of his business approach.

The biggest expectations? Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and France

And what will be its main business challenges? “The first one is undoubtedly getting to know the full breadth of the product portfolio of the ELKO EP, iNELS or Inspinia brands, as each focuses on a slightly different segment and has its own specific target groups. On the one hand, there are the traditional electricians. Professionals who have been in the world of electrical wiring for years. For them, we are attractive because we have been one of the largest relay manufacturers in Europe for years. At the same time, we also manufacture for the largest companies such as ABB or Schneider Electric, which really opens the door to any negotiations. But we mustn’t stop there, because we have a lot to offer hotels, offices, development projects. And in this respect, the North West of Africa is an extremely promising region,” explains Karim Abbassi.

He sees the greatest business potential in two countries in particular. The first is not surprising. It is Morocco, which is not only close to Europe but is also investing heavily in infrastructure ahead of the forthcoming World Cup, which the country will host in 2030. And then in Tunisia and Algeria.

“The Ivory, as the country near the equator is traditionally known, is, in my personal experience, a country with truly untold business opportunities. It has a desire to move up fast, invest in giant projects and loves new technology. For me, it will undoubtedly be one of the first destinations of our travels, because this is where we can achieve great things,” concludes Karim Abbassi. A proud Prague native, he has newly joined the East Moravian company precisely to develop business for it in the truly diverse region he comes from.