Engineer Rubén Rojkés talks with us about Avanco and the growth opportunities arising in the Argentinian construction sector for 2019. Per his website, Ruben has been a real estate developer for over 25 years, “building the dreams of the people”. Read our interview with him below to learn more about his success and industry experience.
1. What was your motivation when creating Avanco?
- AVANCO is an acronym that comes from advancing by building. I am a civil engineer and construction is a passion for me. I decided to move forward in life, building, creating, that’s what I’m passionate about. When I ask myself, Ruben, what is what makes you fill the most fulfilled about your work, I am not passionate about buying and selling only, I need to build, manufacture, develop a product, that’s what I love.
2. What obstacles did you face in the first years of your business?
- The lack of owned capital, I had to motivate investors and banks to join my projects, but in order to tempt them I had to offer them an important participation in the Real Estate business. It was hard but it definitely helped me in the beginning.
3. What was your first successful project?
- It was the first building I built which I launched almost 28 years ago; it was a very small building, in the street San Luis 77. It consisted of only 11 units with one or two bedrooms, with a lobby and two upper floors, without elevator. I sold it quickly. It was my first work, and thank God, all the works I have done have been successful and completely sold.
4. What is one way in which operating a business today is the same as 15 years ago, and one way in which it is different?
- When the activity began it was in the year 92 (My son Diego Rojkés was born, today he is an architect!). At that stage, Argentina was emerging from a hyperinflation and it had 10 years of exchange stability, where one could finance a project in US dollars without any risk for the buyer or the seller. It was easier than now, more predictable.
It was a period in Argentina when mortgage loans existed and it was easier and less risky to finance, buy materials and pay wages.
Today it is very difficult for people to accept financing in dollars, there are continuous changes in prices, salaries, services, and one is looking for an index of activity that allows us to finance clients and continue working. In my case is the CAC, which is an index of price variation of the Argentine Chamber of Construction
As of today mortgage credit does not exist in Argentina.
5. How do you manage the balance between family life and your work?
- I think family must be considered as the most important COMPANY we have, that implies that we must take care of it, dedicate time to them, correct if one makes a mistake, enjoy it. My family is my support, my motivation, I enjoy it very much, and I always try to make time to share with them. I enjoy spending time with my wife and children. Even though my children are grown, we still share a lot of good times. I always make time those moments, with trips, meals, or playing sports with them.
6. What are Ruben Rojkés’s future goals for the business?
- We are about to start the construction of 2 Countries in Tucuman, and we are launching and newly started 4 new buildings.
We are evaluating some projects in Buenos Aires. Now that I have the help of my children, we will probably take on the challenge.
We are also working on new projects on the agricultural livestock field.
7. What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs?
- I would tell them to be passionate and put a lot of dedication to what they do. That they seek advice from people with more experience. I consulted a lot of veterans when I was not clear or I had doubts about a project. Work with a team of people who are passionate about what they do. It is an activity that you just can’t do without a good team.
8. How has the real estate sector developed in Tucumán in the last 10 years?
- It has had its highs and lows, that’s the way Argentina is. You have to learn to play in these conditions so you do not make mistakes.
9. What are the most innovative projects that have been developed in the region?
- I believe that at the Housing and Countries level, our company is the one that is innovating the most in the Region, with the type of amenities of our projects, and the experience of the architects that we have, we are working with a modern architecture and we are in continuous evolution.
We recently completed a residential building called The Point, in which we left standing a beautiful old facade of a house that is over 100 years old, and combined it with beautiful modern buildings. It is something that is seen a lot in Europe but it is the first time it is done in the area. It was a success.
10. What are the areas of Argentina that have grown the most in recent years?
- I think Buenos Aires is in the lead. But areas like Cordoba, Santa Fe, Tucumán, Mendoza are not far behind.