Year: 2018

How does Bulat Utemuratov’s Fund help special children?

Autism is a term that unites groups of development disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). First of all, these disorders are manifested in disruption of social interaction and communication disturbances, as well as in rigidity, peculiarity and narrow-mindedness of interests and activities. Such children cannot be “cured”, but it is possible to help them and their parents. One just needs to know how to help. And Kazakhstani businessman Bulat Utemuratov decided to tackle this difficult issue – it is for three years now that the foundation he set up has been developing multifunctional resource centres for special children. In 2015, such centers were opened in Almaty and Astana, and a year later the Foundation established the same centers in Kyzylorda and Ust-Kamenogorsk. The Centre for Support of Children with Autism “Assyl Miras” under Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation is a multi-profile service where special children receive timely specialist assistance. There are three services in each of such centers: psychological-pedagogical rehabilitation, diagnostics and support services for parents. Every 5.5 months (this is the term for which the rehabilitation period is designed) more than 180 children get comprehensive assistance in each centre. All Assyl Miras centres work under a single programme, based on two international techniques for correcting autism spectrum disorders. The first one is classical, when social-communicative and cognitive spheres, everyday language skills are thrashed over with a child. This takes four specialists working: a psychologist, a special-needs expert, a speech therapist and a social teacher. Technique No 2 – ABA-therapy, – is professional assistance rendered to a child in mastering 544 skills which, according to experts, a person with autism should have. To do this, each student is assigned an individual teacher. Whether we want this or not, autism has become part of everyday life. You can try to ignore it (“Take glycinchik, everything will be all right!”), you can fight with it trying to “cure”, and you can learn to live with it. This is an important problem that needs to be addressed, and everyone should be involved in solving it. With the support of Bulat Utemuratov, at least 40 specialists had targeted training at the Assyl Miras centres over these years, including psychologist doctors, special-needs experts, speech therapists and social teachers working with autistic children. Training of this cadre was carried out by professionals from Kazakhstan, the USA and Europe. Moreover, in 2017 Assyl Miras held, for the second time, a conference “Autism. The world of opportunities”. Teachers, parents, medical workers – a wide range of interested people gets a chance to learn more about autism, about new techniques of correction of the CNS disorders, an opportunity to find like-minded people, to learn and share useful experience. The Assyl Miras centres are called resource centres because they are designed primarily for transferring best practices in scientific research. They are provided with pedagogical personnel and advanced equipment; integration and concentration of material, technical, pedagogical, information, intellectual and other resources of education is carried out on their basis. That is, they are created in order to improve the quality of rendering professional assistance to children with ASD. As a stone thrown in water causes circles, so the work of Assyl Miras will lead to everyone learning how to properly help the special children. And, at last, the most important thing: all services for children and parents who approached the Resource Centre are free of charge.

How Bulat Utemuratov promotes the culture of charity and cooperation in Kazakhstan

The year of 2017 laid down the start for effective charity collaborations between the private business and humanitarian organisations in Kazakhstan, and this assistance rendered to Kazakhstanis is being continued through 2018 too. Cooperation of Burger King, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and ForteBank with the Red Crescent Society is one of these projects. 19 September 2017 saw a special position “Whopper Combo 61” appearing on the menu of Burger King fast food restaurants. By the way, the company is affiliated with the Verny Capital group managing direct investment funds. The key shareholder of these funds is Bulat Utemuratov. Having opted for this combo, any guest of 36 restaurants representing the network in Kazakhstan, who felt like it, could donate 61 tenge to those in need for food. The action received wide coverage in the media, with viners, presenters and public figures popular in Kazakhstan serving behind the restaurant counters. But it was not enough for the initiators to think over an effective scheme of raising money within the “Whopper Combo 61 – Eat not alone!” and to get the message across to the restaurant guests, they wanted to assure themselves of the transparency in the transfer of money to beneficiaries – as the purpose of the project always was real support of the needed. Seeking an expertise and effective logistics, the company’s representatives reached out to the Kazakhstani representative office of one of the world’s most reputable humanitarian organisations – the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. “From 19 September through to 31 December 2017 we have sold 22,950 portions of “Whopper Combo 61” and have managed to raise 1,399,950 KZT,” – Anuar Utemuratov, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Burger King Kazakhstan, said. As a result, the Red Crescent Society distributed 40 food certificates, 35,000 tenge each, among lonely elderly people, single mothers and multi-child families. The project lasted till February 2018. In March 2018 the final results were announced, and the second batch of social certificates was distributed. In November of that year of 2017 another charity project was launched. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation signed a memorandum with the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan on rendering aid to Kazakhstanis who suffered from natural disasters. The Foundation will transfer money for the victims to ForteBank payment cards which will be distributed by the Red Crescent employees in the event of a natural disaster in the territory of Kazakhstan. Such an innovative way to dispense aid is used for the first time not only in Kazakhstan but in the world. The total amount allocated by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation for this project is 67,200,000 KZT. The sums on each card vary from 20 to 30 thousand tenge which can be spent for what is most urgently needed within the first hours after natural disasters – food, warm clothes and hygiene products. Such mechanics of the project make aid dispensing not only transparent but also systematic, as the aid is prepared well in advance, when a disaster has not yet happened. The founder, Bulat Utemuratov, said: “I cannot stand on the sidelines when people are left with no shelter and food because of a natural disaster. Joint efforts of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, ForteBank and Red Crescent Society will be used to provide first humanitarian aid to victims. I hope this multilateral initiative to help people suffering disaster will be backed by the business community and public organisations”. Yelena Kim, Director General, Red Crescent Kazakhstan, notes the efficiency of such a system in the context of quick response to emergencies – ForteBank’s banking technologies help saving precious time and dispensing aid more evenly among the victims. Beside the joint project with Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, ForteBank introduced to its online banking a function of transferring money to the Red Crescent Society account. All one needs to do is to enter the website or the mobile application, select PA “Red Crescent Society in the Republic of Kazakhstan” as a supplier in the payments section, enter the required details and specify the amount of contribution. Collaboration between ForteBank and the Red Crescent Society is an illustrative example of how cooperation between business and NGOs makes mutual assistance more technological and accessible for a wide range of people.

Daddy, I fell in love with tennis! Why did Bulat invest 65 million dollars in the development of Kazakhstani tennis?

Over the past ten years, since prominent businessman and public figure Bulat Utemuratov has become the President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, modern tennis centres have been built in every oblast centre of Kazakhstan. The Federation holds tournaments of national and international level, where our young athletes show good results. Kazakhstani tennis gets publicity abroad too. How was all this achieved? Steady work and dedication, high professionalism, patriotism, honesty and openness, as well as an emphasis on the maximum effectiveness are the main principles of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, which helped Bulat Utemuratov’s team to achieve tangible results in the development of both children’s and “adult” sports. But first things first. More than six thousand children are currently engaged in court tennis in Kazakhstan. It is necessary to create conditions for their professional growth and development, and ten years ago there were only sixty tennis courts in the country. Today’s figure is one hundred and eighty four. Every large oblast centre now has own professional coaches, but the Federation spares no cadre and sends experienced senior coaches to the oblast tennis centres. KTF is a team of true tennis fans who support not only young men and women who will represent the interests of the Republic on the world stage in a few years, but also professional athletes. So, most recently, Kazakhstani tennis players defeated Switzerland and for the fifth time in history went to the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup World Group. Court tennis is a large-scale and, as a consequence, costly sport. Infrastructure is needed, strong coaching staff is needed and, among other things, athletes should be able to regularly participate in tournaments not only in Kazakhstan, but also on the world arena. The main goal of the Kazakhstan’s Federation, as of a public association of the republican scale, is precisely in this – popularising tennis and bringing the country to a qualitatively new level. This is what the Vice-President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, Dias Doskarayev, thinks.   “Education of champions, financing of competitions, training of Olympians is a priori the task of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and of the National Olympic Committee. But the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation has a special, large-scale approach. Here, its President Bulat Utemuratov took on himself a lot, from the construction of tennis centres to the education of champions and the development of top-class sports. Just the state support is not enough for a real breakthrough of tennis in Kazakhstan. The personal efforts of the President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation are helping to bring the country to a qualitatively new level in the world tennis hierarchy,” – says Doskarayev. “In 2017, we were able to increase the number of events and general financial investments in tennis by one and a half time, including at the expense of personal funds of the KTF President”. For today, it is 65 million dollars which Bulat Utemuratov has invested in the development of Kazakhstani tennis in the last ten years. The development of children’s sports is one of the most important and priority tasks for the whole of Kazakhstan. And today we can already see the fruits of the tremendous efforts invested here by Bulat Utemuratov. The Team Kazakhstan project deserves special attention: it gives the chance for Kazakhstanis to gain a foothold among the best players. June 1, 2017 was exactly nine years since the launch of this specialised programme in Kazakhstan. Its participants are gifted children from various parts of our country. Team Kazakhstan is a unique sports school created to form the own tennis reserve of players in the national teams of the Davis Cup and the Federation Cup. The academy selects the strongest juniors from all regions of Kazakhstan under the age of 16 and falls under the KTF’s full financial support, that includes trainings with the best coaches of Kazakhstan and invited foreign experts, meals and accommodation at the Tennis Team Hotel, specially built for the academy, trips to national and international competitions. It also gives the opportunity to improve their skills on the basis of the world’s leading academies: in the Tennis Academy of Rafael Nadal in Spain, of Eric Van Harpen in Germany, in the International Tennis Academy of Chris Evert and Nick Bollettieri in America and in others. Students of the Academy won in total over 80 international tournaments, including various Grand Prixes. In 2017, the Kazakhstan national team playing in the category “under 12 years” became the champion of Central Asia. Kazakhstani tennis player Gozal Aynitdinova is the champion of Asia in the category “under 14 years”. Representatives of Kazakhstan’s tennis youth regularly take prizes in Europe. Kazakhstani Dostanbek Tashbulatov won a series of tournaments in Germany and France and also reached the final of the Orange Bowl International Championship in the USA. Last year, for the first time, ITF and ATF jointly organised the Asian team championship among children under 12 years old, where tennis players from 14 Asian countries took part. Children get opportunities for growth and development, and the country – a reason to be proud. “I have two children engaged in tennis: Rodion started at 6, and Kira – at 7, as soon as the tennis centre opened in Kokshetau”, – shares Sergey Traigel from Kokshetau in his interview to “I started training too. Dias Doskarayev opened our eyes to the advantages of this sport. Speaking at the opening of the centre, he told us not only about tennis but also about development of individual and intellectual qualities of a child through this game. My daughter immediately said: “Daddy, I fell in love with tennis!” Now they started participating in the Republican tournaments of the Masters series. And Rodion made it to the list of the best players of the country in his age category and played in the “BALAM PODROS” tournament for the 10th anniversary of the Federation. We were happy and are proud of his achievements. It is nice that children are given such an opportunity to show their worth, he felt like a true professional”. At present, the Kazakhstani federation provides full financial support of about 50 leading young tennis players from all over Kazakhstan: takes on expenses, finances processes starting from sports gear (balls, nets, courts), court rentals, invitation of coaches, teachers, English language courses, catering, trips abroad for tournaments. Kazakhstan hosts about 40 international tournaments of ITF series a year: ITF Futures, ITF Juniors, ATF and ATP Challenger. The largest tournament in Kazakhstan is the President’s Cup. This tournament falls under the ITF series. Kazakhstan has also repeatedly hosted David Cup World Group and Fed Cup international tournaments.

Breeding ground for business leaders. How does Bulat Utemuratov’s scholarship help young talents?

“Corporate social responsibility” and “social investments” – these terms are heard among Kazakhstani businesses more and more often. Sometimes these definitions are equated to traditional charity, but there are also companies which, within the frameworks of the corporate social responsibility, make long-term investments in projects with a big potential of repaying to the society. Higher education is one of such fields. As of 2016, businessman Bulat Utemuratov has invested over 40 billion US dollars in the development of one of the oldest economic higher education institutions – University named after Turar Ryskulov which is now called “Narxoz University” (several years ago this “common name” was made official). For the last 10 years the profit got from the University activities have not been taken out but has been re-invested in the development of the technical, sports and pedagogical base. These investments helped to fully transform the education process, to invite foreign educational experts, in particular the former head of the top management, Krzysztof Rybinski (currently Narxoz has a new rector and the story of him is worth a separate article). As a result, Utemuratov managed to return the University to one of the leading positions in the country’s higher education market. “Lack of professional cadre, no access to the advanced technologies, flourishing corruption – that was how we found this University in 2005 when decided to invest funds in it. Tremendous changes have been made for 10 years. During a crisis, the country pressingly needs its own high-quality specialists in various fields of the economy”, – says a graduate of Narxoz, philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov. Having reported on the outcomes of the work done in 2016, the investment group managed by Utemuratov continued to invest in the society through scholarship programmes for talented students of the Narxoz University. Starting from September 2016, the best school leavers can aspire to five Bulat Utemuratov’s personalised scholarships, some more 100 grants are given to talented prospective students by the Verny Capital group of companies in partnership with JSC ForteBank. Bulat Utemuratov scholarships are needed to help educate gifted entrepreneurs who can positively influence the economic development of Kazakhstan. “I have enrolled in Narxoz in 2016”, – tells second year student Temirlan who came to Almaty from Pavlodar a year and a half ago. “Despite the mathematical profile of my school, I was interested in economics and having enrolled for a technical profession felt at a loss. I got everything right but did not enjoy the process. Decided to change my subject specialism and the choice turned to marketing. I studied psychology for a long while, and marketing cannot be done without it. I have never regretted the change of my subject specialism; apparently my unconscious has rightly put me on the track of a marketing professional”. Answering the question what exactly he has got from the personalised scholarship, Temirlan says: opportunities. The scholarship initiative will let equate chances for success among the students from different regions and social strata of the society. Lack of finance should not be an obstacle on the way to the quality business education, Bulat Utemuratov believes, therefore each of the five annually granted scholarships fully covers not only the four years of tuition for the intramural form of study, but also the campus accommodation expenses and monthly payments of allowance in the amount of 60,000 tenge. The scholar just needs to focus on the studies and keep his/her GPA at least 3.5. There are many pluses: enhanced stipend, paid on-the-job training abroad, practice with partner companies” – shares Temirlan. “But there is also the reverse side: more responsibility falls on our own shoulders, we are always under close attention. But sure enough this stimulates, helps to keep the pace. Last summer we went to Coventry to take classes in the summer school. One cannot do without English nowadays.” In addition to the standard curriculum of the Narxoz University, a scholar is to be provided with a workplace and a personal mentor out of the range of entrepreneurs collaborating with the MOST business incubator located at the same place, in the territory of the Narxoz University. The scholarship also covers all expenses for the compulsory annual participation in a summer school abroad. “For me personally, Bulat Utemuratov’s scholarship gave a chance to choose my future”, – Madina Shompanova, third year student of the Narxoz University, comments. “I now do not depend materially on my parents, live in the residence hall, that helps a lot as I am not from Almaty. In other words, I gained independence. Throughout the whole academic year I had the University Rector, Krzysztof Rybinski, as my mentor. He supported publication of my first article and gave important advice for my studies and choice of profession. The English language courses and the summer trip to England considerably improved my English: I have moved from the intermediate level to the advanced one.” Madina is the 3rd year student, is fluent in 4 languages, leads “MediaLab” student organisation which is engaged in photography and video filming, arrangement of events related to the media as well as in courses and lectures on film production and direction. “I believe that Bulat Utemuratov’s scholarship gives an opportunity to self-actualise. The process of education at Narxoz, participation in various events, student organisations, courses will ultimately make us the valuable cadre who in the future will manage to set up their own businesses and achieve economic prosperity for the country”.

Whopper in Kazakhstan. Is cooperation with international networks easy for business?

Franchising became popular among Kazakhstani businesses in the beginning of the 1990-s. Since then we have seen many times how the visibility of dozens of international networks and brands flew up and vanished. The progression of events impels to think whether it is easy to bring foreign business to Kazakhstan and, what is even more important, to make it successful in the domestic market. Let’s look into this using the example of the international network of the Burger King fast food restaurants. Established in 1954, the international network of Burger King fast food restaurants is on the second place as for the number of restaurants in most regions of the world. The scope of Burger King can be understood if to imagine that over 19,000 restaurants in 100 countries of the world have about 11 million visitors daily. In 2012 Kazakhstan became the 83rd country where the Burger King Corporation fast food network opened its restaurants. Having decided to bring this international network to Kazakhstan, businessman Bulat Utemuratov entered a contract with Burger King to open a franchise in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the period of 12 years. In the course of work the company opened 32 restaurants in 9 cities of the Republic and employed 651 people – currently this is the largest international network in Kazakhstan which not only gave Kazakhstanis an access to the fast and high-quality service, but also created many jobs and opportunities for the career growth. The company employs quite a few staff who succeeded to progress from line personnel to middle and even senior level managers. The Burger King global representative has a range of requirements to everyone who opens restaurants of this network. At the first stage they have to prove the financial reliability of a franchisee as the launch investments cost on the average from 316,000 USD up to 2,660,000 USD. Besides, the franchise contract usually also allows for the 4.5% royalty. Likewise, Burger King has a number of requirements which must be met not only by the franchisee but also by each of his product suppliers. On the one hand, this makes the life of visitors more comfortable – wherever in the world you come to Burger King, you can rely upon the consistent quality of food and servicing. On the other hand, this makes the life of local franchisee more difficult because not every country has suppliers who have the safety certificate approved by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The process of approval of a new supplier takes two years and requires capital investments to production technologies which are not something all producers in Kazakhstan are ready for, that is why Iceberg salad and potato wedges come to us by air from Holland from two different suppliers once in 48 hours. Other ingredients are also imported mainly from the European countries despite local suppliers offering much lower prices. The quality guarantee is valued by the global player more than short-term profit for local franchisees. It happened exactly so in Kazakhstan, but the Kazakhstani network, against the odds, meets the international standards: they cook meat only over an open fire, and use products only from certified suppliers in strict accordance with the regulations. Thanks to that they managed to become effective as early as in 2015: daily Burger King restaurants in Kazakhstan were visited by about 15,000 people, so in 2015 the restaurant welcomed 6 million guests. Whopper became the most popular meal in Kazakhstan –1,860,000 whoppers were sold in 2015. In addition to the authorisation of suppliers, the terms of the Burger King franchise require close attention to the service, so the company’s management will have to undertake training abroad several times before opening a restaurant or a restaurant chain. Usually this is Miami in Florida, but there may be other locations. And after the main training, you need to regularly conduct trainings for managers in the country of the franchise outspread, to make sure that all the key principles of the Burger King service are observed.

Burabike: A race for the common good

Burabike: A race for the common good The charity cycling ride Burabike has turned 5 years. We are telling the success story of the action which annually rallies people in “Kazakhstani Switzerland”. What is Burabike? The Burabike charity bike ride is inspired by businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov. The philanthropist has been the patron of the project for six years now with a purpose of providing children’s medical institutions with equipment which is vitally important for children’s health. Besides, the project is aimed at popularisation of the culture of charity, ecotourism and healthy lifestyle. How did it all begin? The charity bike ride has been run from 2013. The purpose of the first action was charity collection to help newborn babies in the Akmola Oblast. The initiative was joined by the “Ayala” Charity Foundation. Alexander Vinokurov, the Olympic champion of 2012, also took part in the bike ride. Since then, he has been supporting the action every year. “This is a noble calling, so many participants who can cycle together – from businessmen to ordinary people. It is a good event, especially as it is held in such a picturesque place as Burabay,” – the athlete noted. The first charity bike ride in Borovoye has raised 11.5 million tenge. The money was used to equip the intensive care unit in the perinatal centre of Kokshetau. In 2014, the project got a permanent social partner – Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. The main goal of the Foundation is the development of children’s health care. The founder, businessman and public figure, the President of the Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan, Bulat Utemuratov believes that the interests of a child should be in the priority for the society development. The Foundation identifies three main areas of activity: health, culture and education – which have the greatest impact on the formation of a personality and the quality of life of a child, and hence – of a society. “We are glad that this initiative annually attracts more and more like-minded people. Children are the future of Kazakhstan, therefore all our activities are aimed at educating and helping them”, – Director of the Foundation, Marat Aitmagambetov, commented. What are the project achievements? For five years, 463.5 million tenge were collected. All funds were donated to children’s hospitals, perinatal and rehabilitation centres, as well as to orphanages. Thanks to the action, medical institutions throughout Kazakhstan received the required technical, rehabilitation and medical equipment. “Our intensive care unit received some unique and very expensive equipment, the money for which was collected by the very participants of the bike ride. The equipment purchased thanks to bicycle rides helped save the lives of more than 70 newborns. The organisers approached us again to offer help. We indeed need more equipment for the pediatric building. When we will have received it, the centre will be able to accommodate patients even from the most remote corners of the Akmola Oblast,” says Natalia Tsyplakova, Deputy Chief Doctor for Childhood, Akmola Oblast Perinatal Centre. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation donated the required medical equipment for newborn babies of the Kzylorda Oblast. The oblast perinatal centre was given two Atom Transcapsule V-808 transport incubators for the amount of 48,300,000 tenge. Humidicribs provide reliable protection of newborns, especially of premature babies, from the impact of the environment; create the necessary microenvironment for preserving life and further growth and development of a child during transportation to the hospital. “The birth rate in the region has always been higher than the republican average (26.06 against 22.72 for the Republic of Kazakhstan), however, at the same time infant mortality remains quite high. For 7 months of 2016, 79 children needed urgent help from neonatologists. Out of them, 62 babies were transported to the oblast perinatal centre, 17 – were left in district hospitals of necessity and 10 of those died. The purchase of incubators will minimize the number of perished newborns,” – Akmaral Alnazarova, Head of the Public Health Department, Kyzylorda Oblast, emphasised. In 2017, the bike ride gathered a record number of visitors – 1,500 people. 718 participants covered a 30-kilometer distance. There are no age restrictions for the event; the main thing is to be athletically fit. Most of the proceeds are secured by an auction where in various years personal belongings of the world and Kazakhstani sports stars were exhibited: jerseys and bicycles of Alexander Vinokurov and Vincenzo Nibali, Gennady Golovkin’s gloves, Rafael Nadal’s racket, Fabio Aru’s super light bicycle, Olympic champion Dmitry Balandin’s T-shirt. The total amount of donations collected at the Charity Tour de Burabay since 2013 has grown almost 14 times. The total revenue of the last auction was 102,900,000 tenge, the fair of children’s paintings collected 684,000 tenge, corporate and individual contributions exceeded 30,416,000, donations of philanthropists amounted to 26,000,000 tenge, the organisers told. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation used the proceeds to purchase medical equipment for the Petropavlovsk Children’s Oblast Hospital, the Taldykorgan Oblast Perinatal Centre, the Uralsk Oblast Children’s Multi-Profile Hospital, the Aktobe Oblast Children’s Clinical Hospital, and the West Kazakhstan Oblast Public Association for Disabled Children “Baiterek”. Who is supporting Burabike? For the five years of its existence, thousands of Kazakhstanis participated in the bike ride, including eminent sportsmen, businessmen and state figures. For example, Olympic champion Alexander Vinokurov comes to Borovoye every year and covers the distances together with the Astana Pro Team. In 2014, the second charity bike ride was joined by the winner of the Tour de France 2014, Vincenzo Nibali. Participants included legend of the world weightlifting Ilya Ilyin, the President of the “Astana” Professional Sports Club, Olympic champion in cross-country skiing Vladimir Smirnov, Olympic champion Daniyar Yeleusinov, tennis player Galina Voskoboyeva, Vice-President of the Cycling Federation of Kazakhstan Raimbek Batalov, head of the Development Bank of Kazakhstan Bolat Zhamishev. The jubilee bike ride in 2017 was headed by the Minister of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, who has been taking part in the event since 2015.
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