Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Ayat Azimov. I graduated from LCC in 2013 with a degree in International Business Administration. In the past I have worked for Polpharma Group (Gdansk, Poland), the government of Kazakhstan and Chevron Oil company. My hometown is Shymkent, Kazakhstan.
Can you tell us more about your current work? What do you like most about it?
In 2015, my LCC classmate and roommate Maxat Amanmuradov and I opened our first coffee bar in Shymkent. Today, we own 8 coffee bars in Shymkent and have sold over 15 franchises to other cities in Kazakhstan. So we now have 23 coffee bars operating all over Kazakhstan. I think that our work in the Kazakhstani market is very important because we, as well as other young enterpreneurs, bring values, mission and vision to our companies. We expect that later more and more companies will implement our business approaches. Moreover, we have corporate social responsibility programs and our LCC friend and fellow LCC alumnus Sergey An (class of 2017) coordinates those programs. We try to attract LCC graduates to work for our company. In August 2017, we opened our roastery. Now we provide fresh roasted coffee to ourcustomers.
In 2017, the popular magazine the-steppe.com posted an article about our business. Please follow here.
In your opinion, what are the keys for success and what was the most challenging part of developing this business idea?
In my opinion, values are the key for success. Each company should have its own values. Our values are: 1) Taking care of people; 2) Following our dreams; 3) Simplify everything we do; 4) Productivity in work; 5) Keeping discipline in expenses.
The most challenging part of developing our business is more internal issues rather than external issues because our government has created great opportunities to develop businesses in Kazakhstan. Regarding internal issues, we have difficulties in relationships among personnel and business partners. Actually, I can point out one of our external issues. We put great effort into changing the attitudes of our people toward coffee culture because tea is the traditional drink of Kazakhs. Another external challenge for us is growing competition. However, by now we have become one of the strongest coffee companies in Kazakhstan after Costa Coffee and Starbucks.
How did LCC influence you and what skills did you develop during your four years of studying here?
LCC was the right place to study business because I was able to meet new people from all around the world and visit new places to find new ideas for business. My final paper was about Starbucks and I was so inspired by Howard Schultz’s story. After that my dream was to open my own coffee bar. I not onlydeveloped managerial skills at LCC butI also learned to do business in a completely different way. Today in our company we do not value profit more than our people but we put people in the first place. Our employees get paid more than those in other similar organizations. We try to put key people in key places. I learned all of this at LCC.
I want them to appreciate the time they are spending at LCC. Honestly, sometimes I miss LCC and want to go back there. I think LCC is a good place to start your journey through your whole life.
What would you wish to LCC students, staff and faculty members and the whole LCC community?
LCC is a great place to study, and if I had a chance to live my life again I would enter LCC again. I wish all students to be patient and follow their dreams. I was not an outstanding student, but I am so grateful to all my professors for knowledge because often I feel that they just believed in me and such students as me. I wish for all faculty members to believe in their students. LCC is a place where people’s lives can change. I wish for LCC community to grow bigger and spread its values all over the world. It is possible and I believe in LCC.