Yerkin Tatishev: Who is the Kusto Group Founder?

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Even though Yerkin Tatishev leads Kusto Group – a billion-dollar company with subsidiaries in 10 countries – he has not forgotten about his native Kazakhstan.

At the age of 46, the Kusto Group founder, Yerkin Tatishev, has already accomplished more than most people do in a lifetime.

In 2002, he established the international holding firm Kusto Group. The company has grown to become a regional leader in multiple sectors such as real estate, agriculture, and building materials.

While the company was founded in Yerkin Tatishev’s native Kazakhstan, Kusto Group’s headquarters are now located in Singapore. From there, it operates about 30 businesses in Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Turkey, Israel, Georgia, China, Canada and Vietnam.

Today, Kusto Group has a turnover of more than $1 billion.

From the edge of bankruptcy to profitability with the help of Yerkin Tatishev

Yerkin Tatishev’s business adventure began in Zhitigara, Kazakhstan in 1998 – just seven years after the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

While he studied at the Moscow State University of Management, he and some colleagues set their sights on a mining and manufacturing enterprise in Zhitigara that they wanted to renew.

The group of young entrepreneurs implemented many improvements in the enterprise, including a restructure of the business that made it more efficient.

Yerkin Tatishev and his colleagues also removed the leadership system of the business. They believed that it consisted of too many layers and ranks and that it was a contributing factor to the enterprise’s inefficiency.

With their innovative approach, the young entrepreneurs won the support of the locals and the workforce.

They focused on their employees’ health and safety, increased material productivity, and opened new doors domestically and internationally, among other things.

After a few years in the hands of Yerkin Tatishev and his colleagues, the mining and manufacturing enterprise in Zhitigara had gone from being on the brink of bankruptcy to becoming a profitable business.

Continued focus on Kazakhstan

While working on the Zhitgara enterprise, Yerkin Tatishev came up with the idea that would lead to the establishment of Kusto Group in 2002.

Kusto Group is active in five sectors: real estate, building materials, agriculture, oil and gas and employs more than 8,000 people worldwide today.

In 2013, Yerkin Tatishev became the chairman of Kusto Group and moved the holding firm’s headquarters from Kazakhstan to Singapore.

“Singapore is a market with a strong financial background, a good legal system and an efficient business environment that is fully supported by the government. When I have the intention of becoming a global corporation investing in different regions of the world, I immediately think of Singapore,” Yerkin Tatishev explains.

Despite the move, the Kusto Group founder has not forgotten about his roots and sees Kazakhstan as a diamond in the rough.

He believes that agriculture is a sector that Kazakhstan can become a global leader of.

Kusto Group opens international doors for KazBeef

Kusto Group is already contributing to the Kazakhstani agricultural scene itself through its meat manufacturing subsidiary, KazBeef.

Like with the mining and manufacturing enterprise in Zhitgara, Yerkin Tatishev and his Kusto Group team turned KazBeef around when they acquired it in 2018.

Kusto Group built a new feedlot according to American standards and made sure that it got the international certificates that would enable KazBeef to enter the international market.

Since then, KazBeef meat has been exported to Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan, among other countries.

Recently, KazBeef became the first Kazakhstani company to receive the GLOBALG.A.P certificate, which is the world’s most widespread farm certification scheme.

Family-friendly neighborhood underway in Kazakhstan

Kusto Group is also currently building a new neighborhood called Koktobe City outside of Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The project, which consists of four-story residential buildings and multiple public facilities, is expected to be finished in 2023.

Among the planned facilities in Koktobe City are supermarkets, kindergartens, gyms, a school, sports facilities, restaurants and a pharmacy.

Kusto Group aims to build a neighborhood that has everything a family needs.

“Many modern cities often lack sophisticated infrastructure. We are faced with housing projects and solutions in which there is no socialization of people. Zones for sports are missing, there is no separation of the traffic of cars and people, work and leisure,” Yerkin Tatishev says.

“Infrastructure can be considered thoughtful if it adheres to the basic principle – not to complicate. It is extremely important for a person that his entire environment is understandable, accessible and visible,” he adds.

Yerkin Tatishev named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’

In addition to being a successful businessman, Yerkin Tatishev is a passionate philanthropist.

He and Kusto Group have, for instance, donated food, medical equipment, housing and technology to hospitals and people in Ukraine and Kazakhstan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative saw the light of the day in the spring of 2020 and got the name Kusto Help.

Over the course of one month in 2021, Kusto Help donated medical equipment worth $135,000 to hospitals in the Vinnytsia, Khmelnytskyi and Zhytomyr regions of Ukraine.

Yerkin Tatishev’s actions under the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the reasons why he was recently named the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in Kazakhstan by the multinational professional services network Ernst & Young (EY).

The Kusto Group founder will now represent his country at the international final in Monaco in June.