Serving the people — not just words for AITAS, says Serik Tolukpayev

In a recent interview with the founder of AITAS holding, which includes Ust-Kamenogorsk and Makinsk poultry farms, the Kus&Vkus brand, arable land in East Kazakhstan Region and North Kazakhstan Region, as well as a number of other companies, Serik Tolukpayev, told about the history of the Aitas Foundation and its funds, in particular the Katon-Karagay phenomenon — a project that has grown from a regional to a large-scale project that covered the entire territory of the republic and attracted billions.
“In 2016, when I was 45 years old, there was a qualitative shift in the internal paradigm, when I suddenly realized that responsibility could be beyond my family, business – what I control. And it turned out that I still have not accepted responsibility for my country,” said Serik Tolukpayev .
First of all, this understanding led to a rethinking of the purpose and mission of the AITAS holding. As a result, serving the people of Kazakhstan was chosen first, and the mission was the sustainable development of the country through the development of rural areas. Their implementation remained.

And he decided to start work on sustainable development from his native land – the Katon-Karagay district. This is how the first Sustainable Rural Development Fund appeared. In the process of work, it turned out that the most important component in the field of social development is secondary education.
“I studied in the village myself and I believe that education should be of high quality for both urban and rural residents. Without quality education, it is impossible to realize the potential of human capital in the country. One of the forms of sustainable development is the improvement of the social environment, economy and ecology. Fundamentals of social development include education, medicine and culture. We chose education,” the businessman notes.
The search for the most effective way to achieve such an indicator led to the creation of the project “Rural School Powered by NIS”. The main goal was one – to reduce the gap in the quality of education between the city and the countryside. At the initial stage, the project covered 2,800 students and over 320 teachers. The result was not long in coming. In three years, the quality of education in selected rural schools has improved to 12%, the number of students who took part in educational competitions has increased. Thus, students of the secondary school of Ulken Naryn village began to represent their educational institution at the republican Olympiads almost twice as often.
Later, the Kazakhstan Khalkyna Fund decides to support the initiative and allocates KZT4 billion 250 million for updating the material and technical base of selected rural schools. This is how the program “Development of the Potential of Hub Schools in Rural Areas” appears, which became both a logical continuation of the project “Rural School Powered by NIS” and a separate initiative that covered all regions of the country.
The initiative becomes a country program in a short time, having actually received national status and covering 17 schools in 17 regions of Kazakhstan at the first stage. At the second stage, which started this year, it is planned to create 63 support schools, or cover about 45 thousand rural students. By the end of 2024, one support school in each rural district and single-industry towns will participate in the project, which means that 111 more schools will join the project next year.
“Do you want to be happy? Make your environment happy,” Serik Tolukpayev says and adds: “Serving the people and participating in the sustainable development of the country are not just words for us. For our company, this is a full-fledged part of our activity, the same as business.”
The full version is available here: Forbes Kazakhstan