I’m sitting in a cafe with Evgeniy Larionov. We both studied in SKOLKOVO, although he is from EMBA 3, and I graduated from EMBA 1. We already had met one another several times at various lectures and events, but this is the first time we have had a chance to sit down and have a real conversation.
Genya is a wonderful combination of calmness and action. He is very motivated and passionate about his interests and is a very open individual. I do not know how he has accomplished all that he has done and is now doing.
Genya was a born entrepreneur. While a student at PFUR (Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia), he tried his hand in trade, construction, and media businesses. Some examples of his ventures include:
· Sarsshina.ru (Mobile Tire Shop)
· Sushi City (chain of restaurants and sushi delivery in Kaluga region)
· ExLibris (Agency for Monitoring and Evaluation of Media in the Russian market),
· Coffee and the City (the modern coffeehouse chain format in Moscow).
He is around 30 and passionate about martial arts. He started training in martial arts at school and continued practicing martial arts professionally through university. Evgeniy practices at the Center for Qigong and Wushu Black Tiger.
I had to ask a silly question “ Have you ever broken a brick with your hand?” Genya smiled.
Along with studying at University, and starting all his ventures Genya also taught acrobatics for 6 years. Although he stopped training actively 2 years ago, as it became difficult to juggle between training, and all his work. Now he only trains 5 times a week, twice at the practice halls, and three times at home.
If this is not active training, it staggers the mind, how much more he was doing before.
Genya believes that the mind, body and spirit must each develop in harmony with one another.
“ I’m still looking for my mission, and I want live long enough to have time to find it and understand and implement it”.
Currently Genya’s current and favorite project is ‘Coffee and the City’ which fits with his philosophy of health and an active lifestyle. In Coffee and the City, Jack is promoting not only a good product but also a modern healthy lifestyle. This is a new format of a chain of coffee shops, where people can buy take away coffee. It seems simple but in reality is a very complex process. Coffee is bought only from chosen farmers plantations, supplies (cups, lids) are all made of Eco-friendly recyclable materials, and napkins are purchased only of recycled paper. The food offered alongside the coffee is always natural, healthy, and mostly vegan.
The employees of the company are pretty lucky. All of the systems, training, corporate culture, and a bonus system are aimed at motivating a good quality of service. Employees enjoy their work being a barista (coffee seller) and serve customers in a fun and happy way. Remember the movie Mimino ..”When I feel good, …I’ll drive you in such a way that you will feel good to.”
“Today we have six outlets in the network and by the end of the year we will be thirteen. We are currently opening an outlet in Moscow City. The venture is already profitable at the operating level and is not even a year old yet. The first outlet was opened in February 2012.”
I had to ask the question “You are a born Entrepreneur, why did you choose to study in SKOLKOVO? What did you gain from studying here?”
“The modules in management and Human Resources by Keith Goodall were very useful. I rebuilt a lot of my projects based on what I learnt. My companies have become much more efficient as a result. Corporate Finance and Management accounting also helped me improve my operations, but I have to say that probably the people I met while studying and since then, are the best part of SKOLKOVO and here there is an opportunity and culture of creating and building new ventures. I also learnt more about scalability. Before my studies I would have probably still have done my coffee business but would have done it slower and on a smaller scale. My studies gave me the confidence and courage to build my business on a larger scale.»
After talking with Evgeniy, I wanted to be his client, and if the opportunity arises would be happy to do a venture with him, he is a very inspiring individual.
Here is a SKOLKOVO graduate. Cool.
P.S. Special THANK YOU TO Nadine Arseniev, EMBA 4 Graduate for translating this article