• Heartful Academy

From building Sticks’n’Sushi to revitalising Lolland-Falster

Kim Rahbek created the leading chain of premium sushi restaurants in Denmark, and successfully expanded to London, before selling his company to a big capital fund. Then he changed his focus and embarked on a 30-year plan to revitalise the Danish islands, Lolland-Falster.

How does Kim see the future of non-urban areas, farming, community building, and the creation of workplaces? What does Lolland-Falster have to offer modern people, and why has Kim chosen to move back to his childhood region after such a successful life?

Kim Rahbek is not the average businessman. With a Danish father and a Japanese mother, it has always felt natural to Kim to take the long term perspective. There is a higher purpose to what he is doing, and he thrives while being on a big and meaningful mission.

During his 27 years as Founder & CEO at Sticks’n’Sushi his mantra was “philosophy before business”. Kim spoke about the soul of his company, and how it had to be nurtured. Over the years the most respected and cherished chain of sushi restaurants was carefully built and expanded. Kim sold part of his shares in a couple of rounds, and during 2020 phased himself out, in order to pursue a new vision.

Full of fond memories from his childhood on Falster, a small Island south of Copenhagen, it hurt Kim to see how depleted this rural region had become during the past 3-4 decades. Something had to be done. Kim moved back to the island, and engaged in dialogues with the local community and key players. Together they formulated a 30-year vision and plan for the region. Sustainability, regeneration, community and culture is at the heart of their mission.

Some of the topics Kim addressed in this session:

  • What does “philosophy before business” mean to Kim, and how was it lived out at Sticks’n’Sushi

  • How does Kim view the soul of the company, and what does it mean on a day to day basis

  • After selling his company, why take on such a daunting task of turning around a depleted region, instead of living the good life in a posh neighborhood full of beautiful architecture, like-minded people, and premium cultural offers

  • What is the 30-year vision for Lolland-Falster, and how will Kim and his partners make it happen

  • Can this kind of thinking and working also be applied to other depleted rural regions, and what does it take to succeed

  • Why do we need a lively countryside, and what does rural living have to offer