Engaging with next generation
Kusto Board Member
This month I had the pleasure of discussing the lessons learned from starting a business at Kusto with the bright students of Nazarbayev University.
For an engaging three hours in the University’s Business School, we talked about the need to focus on innovation, as well as the application of the latest global achievements in science and technology to local entrepreneurial foundations in Kazakhstan.
For instance, I explained that Kusto Group’s construction segment has developed several buildings in Almaty with Japanese technology, in order to improve seismology safety standards. And that our agricultural technology division has started to implement a large-scale plan to raise the quality of meat and dairy animal breeding, using the latest expertise from the United States. After all, scientific progress and modern methods of management in business are key priorities for Kazakhstan — both its economic prosperity and the well-being of its people depend on it.
We also talked about what it means to manage an expanding firm. It’s easy enough today to look back with hindsight on the Kusto story: a small company founded by a group of Kazakh businesspeople growing into a global corporation. Yet, as I noted to the Nazarbayev students, behind every success story is a mountain of effort. My partners and I were chasing a dream, but we needed to invest a lot of hard work to realise it — just as the students are working hard to excel in their studies.
Ultimately, we built our group because we believed in our idea and in the growth of the project. But as I told the students, we got our hands dirty along the way. We encountered many problems; sometimes we lost. I explained that in business we had to learn from failure. It was down to faith in the Kazakh people, an openness to scientific progress, and the hard work and support of our partners that we were able to overcome our obstacles and achieve our goals. Maintaining trust and optimism among partners, I stressed to the students, is very important.
The future of Kazakh business is in these young people’s hands. They are the ones to shape it in the years ahead. But talking with them at the University revealed that they are keen to gain experience from those in industry, invest in knowledge, and learn the secrets of success. I am sure they will achieve a lot as they graduate and embark on their careers. These students make me confident for that future.