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Berik Kaniyev: I chose education, sports and ecology

Berik Kaniyev (No. 46 in the list of “50 richest businessmen of Kazakhstan”), co-founder and chairman of the board of directors of Lancaster Group, in a video interview with Forbes.KZ editor-in-chief Anastasiya Novikova spoke about why, despite the coronacrisis, the number of billionaires in Kazakhstan and the world has increased when it is easier to business - in the 90s or today and whether he hopes that the next generation will continue the work of their fathers.

Anastasiya Novikova's first question was about a paradox: despite the coronavirus pandemic, the number of billionaires around the world, according to a recent Forbes rating, increased by 500 people at once.

Berik Kaniyev replied that, of course, all businesses, without exception, experienced difficulties. It had a negative impact on some sectors of the economy such as air transportation, HoReCa and retail. But a few other areas - the IT industry, pharmaceuticals, fintech and the like - have grown significantly, and due to these sectors, the number of rich people has increased.

- It should also not be forgotten that the states of many countries of the world have supported their enterprises, their economies through various monetary instruments and incentives. The US Federal Reserve System and central banks became the largest issuers of money. Of course, there has also been a certain transformation. Technology companies have transformed faster in one year than they did in the past. In the traditional format, this could take 5-10 years for such companies. And it is due to these businesses, first, that there are more rich people, - the businessman explained.

He added that this is perfectly visible on the example of Kazakhstan, where in the past, 2020, a few successful cases were also noted, and new bright business representatives appeared. For example, two companies from the banking sector of the economy - Kaspi and Freedom Finance - were shooting.

- This suggests that IT companies and fintech companies that are engaged in digital technologies have achieved great results. In addition, we, as a country that produces and extracts a lot of mineral resources, have also generally made good progress, because the markets are recovering. The resources we mine today - copper, nickel, or cobalt - are the raw materials for tech companies like Tesla, for example. Plus, soon, our companies plan to supply tin, a valuable product in a few IT industries, to the markets. Thus, we have strengthened our position in both the mineral and fintech markets. We produce a lot of raw materials, and the world will not leave it anywhere. But, on the other hand, over the past 15–20 years we have seen how the world has already been transformed 2-3 times. Trends will be directed specifically to technology, to digitalization, to those niches that our world, the economy, and people desperately need today, ' the speaker added.

The entrepreneur spoke about how the year 2020 has developed for Lancaster Group, and especially for the oilfield services business, which occupies a significant share in the structure of the group of companies. The past year was not the most profitable for the entire oil products market. Moreover, in the spring of 2020, the oil price reached negative values. In these conditions, oil companies are primarily trying to cut costs for oilfield services. However, well-organized organizational work made it possible to get out of this crisis with minimal damage. As for the entire structure of Lancaster Group, the main advantage of the holding is that attention is focused not only on oilfield services, but also on other areas.

- We are engaged in pharmaceuticals, logistics, mining, and gold mining. We have an investment division that works with various biotech related companies, etc. That is, in this regard, we are quite diversified, which helped us both in 2008 and in 2020 to get out of a difficult situation. We have created a good safety cushion in oilfield services, but in other areas, such as pharmaceuticals or the mining industry, we have gone into growth and have been able to show good results, '' said Lancaster Group Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The interlocutors also touched upon the question of when it was easier to do business - today or in the 90s, when the initial capital was accumulating in the country.

As Berik Kaniyev noted, at first glance it seems that in the 90s it was easier to do business: the markets were open, almost all niches were not occupied, everyone was on equal terms, and it was a little easier for an entrepreneurial person with leadership qualities to start a business. from scratch. However, we must not forget that at the same time we had to deal with the inexperience of the businessmen themselves (many of them eventually went bankrupt), and the same racketeering.

- Now, business development requires other competencies, other knowledge, including other leadership skills. The market itself today has become more niche, more sophisticated, more technologically advanced. These are completely different situations ... I think that today the business has narrowed in this regard, while the companies themselves, corporations have become global, online markets have appeared, new directions. But at the same time, if you have a champion idea, then you can earn much more than then. In those days, five hundred thousand or a million - it was incredible, crazy money. Today we see many billionaires - inflation of money during this time has been quite serious. However, I am sure that if you have good ideas and you are focused on advancing in this regard, then you can create and develop your business today,” the entrepreneur noted.

The topic of how interesting it is for children growing up in the families of businessmen to continue the work of their parents did not remain without attention. How does the businessman himself, his associates and large entrepreneurs in general look at how their descendants will manage and develop the business they have built?

- Of course, we think about it. But now the young people are completely different than we were in our time. They have different opportunities, different education, they live in a completely different world. After all, there is the Internet, with which you can implement many of your ideas. Young people choose what they like. And it is a great happiness when a person is passionate about what he or she uses to make money. I will be very happy if one of my children continues to do the same thing that we have been doing all these years. And we have long been building everything so that structurally, organizationally, all this is transferred to them. At the same time, we create a foundation for them to implement their ideas. I will not judge if one of my children becomes a big blogger or rapper. The main thing is that they will like it. We will support them in everything and at the same time engage in charity and spend money to be useful to society, " said Berik Kaniyev.

The guest of the issue also spoke about why he pays great attention to social and charitable projects. According to him, in the life of any person, when he achieves something in life (not necessarily in material terms), the moment comes when he realizes that he can be useful not only to his family or his business, but also to society. And everyone chooses the direction where he tries to apply his strength and knowledge. Berik Kaniyev chose three areas for himself: education, sports, and environmental preservation.

- We will be a competitive country only when our children can become educated, get a chance for good knowledge. This is a fundamental thing. We have talented youth. I am glad when we have winners of Olympiads or contests. Kazakhstan's future lies precisely in educated young people. After all, we cannot be a resource-based country all our lives. It is good that we have the opportunity to extract natural resources, but, for example, in 10-15 years it will not be clear what the situation on the oil market will be, what will be the structure of the economy? If you look at the list of the country's largest taxpayers over the past 20 years, you can see that 80% of it consists of mining companies. And when the whole world is transforming, we cannot be in the same state as today, because tomorrow the bowels will be exhausted. If we do not engage in education today, we will not be able to catch up with the world and keep up with the times, the businessman emphasized.

For more details on this and many other things, see an interview on the Forbes Kazakhstan YouTube channel.

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