Andrey Valerievich, the sphere of your interests as an entrepreneur is very wide, including investments, development, and environmental and agricultural projects. So what's more to your heart's content?
You know, it is probably like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. Many years ago, I consciously came to the business from postgraduate studies at D.F. Ustinov Leningrad Mechanical Institute, although I also had teaching experience, grants, and research papers. But life showed me a different path, and I probably should have taken it.
I started in the '90s, which was very hard for the country, and the fact that I was able to hold on, to turn around, without damaging either my reputation or my business, became fundamental for the choice of vector for my further development.
Today I'm interested in various projects and spend earned money on the support of science, education, young scientists, and talented children.
Is it such a charity?
I wouldn't say so categorically, though, of course, formally; much of what we do fits under this definition. But for my like-minded people and me, the goal is not just to figuratively sponsor this or that event and forget about it.
When we decided to establish a personal scholarship named after cosmonaut Georgy Grechko at my home Voenmech, it was important for us not only to encourage intelligent and talented kids but also to give them faith that they are not alone at the beginning of their beautiful path of knowledge and discovery. Young people need to feel supported, to know that their work and achievements will not only be noticed but also appreciated. I see nothing wrong with financial motivation; it's normal in today's world.
That is why we would like gifted undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students who apply for a scholarship to show themselves not only in their studies and scientific activities but also in some creative, unconventional way. In this case, of course, it should have, so to say, a scientific and technical bias, but the topic is clear; even technicians should possess creativity and not be afraid to try out non-standard solutions.
Today, when education in our country is, I am convinced, not in its best form, it is worth fighting for the youth to start thinking, not afraid to try something new, wanting, after all, to make this world a better and safer place. This is not an easy task, and it should have begun yesterday. If with our help, we manage not to miss out on at least some of the future geniuses, we can consider that life was not lived in vain.
Then is it an investment in human capital?
Yes, that's a good phrase. It's a bit corny, but it very accurately reflects the goals of our work in this area. The earlier we can get children interested in learning and development, the earlier we can understand what a child is talented in, and the more accurately we can help them decide which direction to take, try to point the right way, and, if necessary, support them along the way.
For example, our holding sponsor's various organizations that work with talented children and are interested in their development. One of our partners, in this case, is the Euler Foundation, which organizes Olympiads for gifted schoolchildren. We help organize recreation for these kids at math camps so that learning becomes an exciting process that you don't want to interrupt.
You know, they say it's the time of the knowledge economy when intelligence and human intelligence are at the top of the list of priorities. These people determine the country's potential, and raising them is a top priority for the entire government, educators, and businesses. After all, soon, nothing in the modern world will be as valuable as education.
Since we are talking about children, tell us about the situation with the construction of the Lyceum.
Today I can happily announce that the issue of building the Governor's Lyceum for gifted children in the North-West has been resolved. Our company has already decided on the place of construction (on the shore of Bolshoye Lake in the Kaselevo micro-district). We have reached all the agreements in principle with the authorities and received the technical specifications. The institution will be state-owned, but Euroinvest will provide full sponsorship for it.
It will be an educational institution of boarding type where children will not only study but also will be engaged deeply in disciplines interesting for them, of course, paying attention also to sports and hobbies. This kind of practice is already being used in our country and abroad, giving an excellent account of itself.
The main task, as I have already said, is to get the children interested in learning, and develop their talents, so that they do not stop, do not be afraid to create, to strive for achievements. And our duty is to help them and their teachers and mentors to make serious education the main value. Here, we want to add that selecting teachers to work at the Lyceum will be given the closest attention. We are ready to separately support the staff because professional qualities, along with the ability to work with children, are difficult to overestimate. The selection for this job is very serious. Education employees must get a decent salary. I think it is not shameful and necessary to talk about it.
Can your mentees count on support in the future as well, such as help in finding a job?
At the beginning of this year, our old friends, the World Club of Petersburgers, summed up the results of the Prometheus Star contest. Awards are given to teenagers who have distinguished themselves in Russian and international competitions, contests, and competitions. It's great to see how many talented kids we have, and it gives us peace of mind that the country's future is in good hands. We have been supporting such initiatives for a long time and with pleasure. And we do not exclude that the winners of Prometheus Stars will be able to apply for grants from the Euro Venture Foundation in the future.
I will never tire of repeating that the main value today is qualified personnel, people who are smart, knowledgeable, daring, in general, people with intelligence. We are always glad to see such people on our team. As you said earlier, the sphere of Euroinvest's interests is extensive; for instance, we are deeply involved in science.
You also asked about your favorite child. I would probably be wrong if I did not mention Svetlana. I have been its shareholder for more than ten years and every day of this term brings me joy from the work that the company's highly qualified specialists do. Svetlana has several daughters; we have enough fields of activity and scales for creativity.
Perhaps separately, it is worth mentioning here. Svetlana-Roentgen specialists, together with colleagues from other companies and with the support of the Euroinvest Venture Fund, are working on a device to fight cancer. A unique X-ray tube has already been developed, without which it is impossible to create devices for treating cancerous diseases.
A prototype of the device was presented at the international forum Russian Industrialist 2020; it is a robotic complex that treats lung cancer using X-rays. Internal tumors are treated with a beam of X-rays, preventing their development. It is important to note that the cost of the device is three times lower than its foreign analogs.
In general, Svetlana's subsidiary produces X-ray tubes for various applications, from medical equipment to luggage inspection. The company's employees have become unsurpassed experts in this field, and their products are hugely successful and in demand abroad.
You mentioned a venture fund. Tell us more about it. Why was it necessary to set aside research activity as a separate area?
The idea of creating the Euro Venture fund emerged back in 2017. Euroinvest has always received many exciting proposals from startups, young scientists, inventors, etc. We have always been interested in breakthrough ideas in the field of innovation, and one day there was simply a need to classify, study, and evaluate all of this.
We attract partners to the most significant projects, Skolkovo, St. Petersburg State University, RVC, Polytechnic... Our partners in the Svetlana-Roentgen project to create an apparatus for oncology treatment were scientists from Clinical Hospital # 122, LETI St. Petersburg State Electrotechnical University, and Central Scientific Research Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics. Euro Venture sees among its partners all those burning with the desire to move science and are not afraid of bold experiments, strongly believing in themselves and their ideas.
Our priority is investing in innovative developments in science and technology. We are interested in the development of electronics, and the creation of new materials and projects in the creative industry sphere seem to be progressive. After all, the creative industry is primarily engaged with young people, and our main task is to support young talents and unlock their potential. And it's hard to overestimate the benefits of such projects; the future lies in creating a high-quality public environment.
Is there something similar that you tried to implement when building the Murino housing estate?
You are probably referring to the 3iD and iD Club formats. Yes, this is our own concept of smart homes, a pilot project that Euroinvest Development launched just a couple of years ago. You could say that our experiment was a success. People always seek the best living conditions for themselves and their families, and we also try to keep the prices affordable to the general public.
The 3iD residential development provides residents with modern public spaces and well-developed infrastructure, and the iD Club is an opportunity to participate in educational clubs because many people would like to devote their free time to self-development. We provide a chance to do this without literally leaving home. The three conditions for the success of the 3iD format are the comfort of people in their own apartments, the whole house, and the residential area.
By the way, it's wrong to think that the principle of the smart home is implemented only in Murino. At the beginning of this year, sales started in our new project, iD Svetlanovskiy in the Vyborgsky district of St. Petersburg. In addition to aesthetics and comfort, here are such things which have already become a part of everyday life, such as innovation and excellent service. iD Svetlanovskiy can be called a low-rise complex, given today's realities, as it is a club block of two twelve-story residential buildings.
You mentioned Euroinvest Development. Is it another brainchild nurtured by Evroinvest?
Our construction division, Euroinvest Development, was also created in 2017. It realized that the sprawling business is cramped within Euroinvest, and it is necessary to allocate new directions. I never doubted that I should be engaged in construction and development activities. Long ago, I started to acquire ownership of the land both within the city and in the region, realizing that it was a worthy investment. The problem was not in buying land but in developing it competently, building it up, and selling the real estate built on time and without losses.
Now it is very important that we have the opportunity to engage in full-cycle development activities in a more dense and targeted manner. All our projects are and will be delivered on time, and there are no problems with financing.
It is even more gratifying that our work was noticed and noted. The highest assessment of our work is satisfied residents of our houses, who receive not only good apartments but also excellent infrastructure. But I would also like to say that in August, Euroinvest Development won the contest of the Union of Construction Associations of the Leningrad region and was recognized as the most customer-oriented developer in the region. Our company is also one of the four regional leaders in current construction volume.
What is the secret to your success?
There is no secret because any achievements are based on hard work, persistence, intelligence, and self-belief. We are good at one thing, but we have to work hard at another.
This year we launched one of our most ambitious projects: Euroinvest became the main shareholder of the Recond factory in St. Petersburg (Russia's leading enterprise for manufacturing and producing radio components). The ambitious thing is that in the future, we plan to revive the legendary Leningrad Research and Production Association Positron, and the purchase of Recond marked the beginning of the realization of this idea.
This is not just another addition to the Euroinvest holding's production assets. At the same time, we are going to support and help the highest professionals and class specialists; thus, the holding decided to create a research and production association in the area of the radio electronics industry. In this way, we will implement a strategy focused on developing high-tech and science-intensive production in St. Petersburg.
We have already launched a program of comprehensive modernization of the Recond factory; we expect not only to increase production volumes but also to plan to master the production of the new state-of-the-art products. Euroinvest is ready to invest up to half a billion rubles in the development of Recond.
But there are projects of a complicated nature that require a non-trivial approach and extraordinary managerial decisions. For example, I can take our agricultural project as the agro-industrial cluster Krasnoye Znamya in the Pskov region. Based on several agricultural enterprises, we are engaged in grain and fodder production and dairy farming. A lot of work has been done, but more needs to be done.
Here we have to make difficult decisions. For example, we postponed the idea of building a dairy farm because, in the current economic situation, it was not expedient. The fact is that dairy products were sold only within the Pskov region and fully covered its needs. However, we do not leave any plans to expand the sales market. Just as we do not plan to stop the activity of holding Euroinvest, we will continue to develop it in many exciting directions.