Psychological blogs on the Internet are full of quotes about how important it is to find your path and vocation. People see many examples of people who successfully find their path and choose the profession that best suits them.
That in itself is not surprising, but people who manage to live in several professional roles in one lifetime, realizing the potential for themselves in each of them, surprise and attract attention.
Especially when referring to representatives of businesspeople, it would seem that making money is pure pragmatism, suggesting that there is no place for self-discovery. Truthfully, it is even more interesting to meet examples to the contrary.
One of them is Andrey Berezin, founder of Euroinvest. His ability to change himself repeatedly to find a new meaning in his activity is astounding, and thus inevitably remain relevant, despite the changing circumstances around it.
Remember How it All Began
Andrey Berezin belongs to the 90s generation that was thrown into the whirlpool of the era. Just yesterday, the young resident of St. Petersburg, which had just become Leningrad, was well aware of what awaited him next. He first went to a good school with a mathematical bias, then very successfully graduated from one of the city’s best technical universities, Voenmeh. In fact, he had time not only to study but also to be engaged in scientific work; he wrote articles and got a personal scholarship.
It was clear that in front of me was either postgraduate studies or if one wanted to work in practice first, an engineering job at one of the research institutes. Everything is clear as it is predictable. There were market relations, a reassessment of all values, and a complete breakdown of the familiar picture of the world. At that moment, many people tried to hold on to the fragments of old models of life, but Berezin turned out to be from a different sort.
As cliché as it sounds, times have changed. Consequently, it is time to change yourself; following this maxim, Andrey Berezin abandoned all previous plans and rushed into business. It was often a complicated, unsafe environment, but it was the nerve of the era, and Berezin felt it.
International trade was his first choice. North Palmyra, like other Russian cities at the time, desperately needed quality goods, and the products were not so good. Berezin turned out to be one of those who managed to build bridges with Europe and set up entirely new commodity flows on these bridges. Resultantly, the shelves were soon flooded with a wide range of imports, somewhere worse, somewhere better.
Small firms were consolidated, and the chaos of the early years was replaced by streamlined schemes and more or less adequate regulation on the part of the state. By the way, many first wave businesspeople were not ready to work under government regulation, thus ended up staying somewhere on the shuttle periphery. However, Andrey Berezin was able to play by the new rules. Moreover, he reached a new level, including the North-West Fisheries Company.
Nevertheless, complexity and inexhaustible possibilities were replaced by stability and predictability. Andrey Berezin decided for the second time in his life that it was time to raise the sails.
A Solid Foundation and the Breaking of Boundaries
At this point, he was already more robust than he had been just a few years earlier.
To begin with, there was the capital, and second, there was the team. One of the members, Yuri Vasiliev, still remains Berezin’s closest business partner and co-owner of Euroinvest Holding.
Where could he channel his energy and experience at the turn of the nineties and zero years? Andrey Berezin chose construction.
First, this field was substantial and honest in its own way: only what was built could be presented to the world. As seen in the old years of trade, the maximum potential for development opened up at that moment. Upon entering the new market, the companions soon became aware of the shortcomings of the practices that existed at that time.
Developers at the time were not particularly concerned about what life would be like for the buyers of their apartments. The main parameter was the area, the number of rooms, and how comfortable it would be to use these meters. In addition, most competing companies worked according to a long-established trajectory; they found an unoccupied area in the city, obtained a permit from the administration, building as many entrances and floors as possible.
Berezin and his team were the first to go beyond these limits. As far as the quality of housing is concerned, they were the ones who offered the buyers Euro-format apartments. They went even further by revising the policy about the complex residential elements beyond the boundaries of the actual living quarters. In recent years, Euroinvest has been selling apartments and natural environment. The buyers are offered a branch system of public spaces on the territory of the residential complex, starting from children’s playgrounds and sports complexes, and ending with roof lounges, covered recreation, and leisure areas.
Through its management companies, the holding invests in the event-filling life of the buyers; they organize regular activities in the club format. Meetings with exciting people, lectures, workshops – everything that allows you to relax after working everyday life and at the same time make friends with your neighbors.
Even more elegantly, Berezin and the company avoided the practice of point development. Instead, to build complex residential areas with everything they needed, Euroinvest shifted its attention from the zones of the current urban development to the vast territories surrounding the city. It was there that suitable land was found, the buyout of which gave rise to the history of the Kudrovo, Murino, and Bugry settlements. These forms of settlements are a standard that have become familiar to Russian citizens today today.
This way was not without its flaws. Not all developers invited by Euroinvest to a new site complied with the agreement on the density of construction and its maximum number of floors, but later the problem was solved. The holding was and remained a kind of guarantor of moderation in this matter. For instance, the company set an unprecedented level of spaciousness in the construction launched last year in Yuzhny Murino, where not more than 20% of the territory will be used for residential purposes. In addition, the buildings would not exceed 12 stories in height.
It is worth acknowledging that a lot has changed in the construction process since the early 2000s; the area has become noticeably conservative, and Berezin himself wouldn’t have agreed to stay just a well-known developer. As you can already guess, he made a new leap at a certain point.
Return to Innovation
Unlike the previous life stages, Berezin has not broken off from the former field of activity; construction remains an essential part of the Euroinvest business. This direction has been delegated to other people including Stanislav Danelyan, of whom works for another famous Petersburg developer Arsenal-Nedvizhimost.
Berezin went to work which was both new and familiar simultaneously. It’s about the industry, science, and innovations. In other words, about what he was taught in his time at Voenmekh, to which he admitted to.
Berezin spoke about the innovation process in an interview a few years ago: “My interest in innovation is not a spontaneous decision. I received my higher education at Leningrad Ustinov Mechanical Institute. And back then, in the late 1980s, I was interested in finding applications for scientific ideas and developments and ways to scale them up. For instance, a group of my classmates and I created checkpoint systems for enterprises at the Center for Youth Creativity in Science and Technology. At the same time, I founded the first Research and Production Unit (NPO), which was engaged in creating computer programs.”
Entering the new arena took five years and three stages. The first was the acquisition of the Svetlana plant, the second was the Rigel plant, and the third was the Recond plant. All three enterprises had a rich and exciting history, which did not fit well into the new market conditions. That is why, in his purchase, Andrey Berezin saved them.
He not only saved them, but significantly strengthened them. Euroinvest opened up a generous investment line for each plant to renovate its material and technical base, worth hundreds of millions of Rubles.
Human resources also strengthened the enterprises. Igor Kozlov, the former head of Roselektronika Holding, a part of Rostec Corporation, was invited as the general director of Svetlana. They also helped with the rank-and-file staff; in particular, they brought Svetlana, a group of developers from one of the defunct research institutes.
Expert support was another way to strengthen it. Along with financing, it was concentrated in the newly created venture fund by the decision of Berezin and Vasiliev. Euro Venture formed an expert council that now defines the projects of the plants worth allocating additional money for.
Among others, the medical project of the Svetlana plant, which has already become quite famous in the professional environment, became a recipient of venture funds. This unique device is based on an X-ray emitter used in oncology surgeries. The consortium assembled based on Svetlana was able to develop the device so that it offered doctors fundamentally new opportunities in treating tumors. This is why both Russian and foreign clinics are already looking forward to its serial production.
However, this is not the only development implemented by the plants under Andrey Berezin’s control. If you study carefully, there are many promising projects, most often in the field of electronics, but also for agriculture, oil production, and health care.
Even though the innovative sphere of Euroinvest is still only gaining power, the company’s owner has some plans for further progress. Both for business and himself. And if everything comes true, we may see a new transformation, which will surprise many people again and make them reconsider the established rules and practices.
Change From the School Desk
It is hard to say when Andrey Berezin’s interest in education grew from mere sponsorship, usual for entrepreneurs of this level, to systematic and sustained involvement.
For many years, Berezin and his team have supported various initiatives in this area, educational platforms through the Euler Mathematical Foundation, and awards for successful young scientists, musicians, and athletes. Some time ago, Euroinvest launched its scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students, named after the cosmonaut Georgy Grechko.
All of this is typical of many companies striving to emphasize their social responsibility, just like the construction of new schools and kindergartens by the development division of Euroinvest, which in itself would not be anything out of the ordinary.
The active interaction with the city’s universities is more interesting. Over the last few years, the company has signed formal and informal agreements with all kinds of universities, mainly technical ones. Not only do they work on joint projects, but Berezin’s ambitions would extend directly to the education and training of new professionals.
New plants in the structure of Euroinvest require a lot of competent workers every year, but the latest steps of the company executives show that there is more than just self-interest.
One of them is the recent help in equipping Gatchina’s gymnasium with new equipment. It would seem that a wealthy countryman decided to buy modern furniture for the school. Together with the table, Berezin gave the gymnasium a new model of education based on the health-saving technologies developed by a well-known pedagogue, Vladimir Bazarny.
If anyone had any doubts that the owner of Euroinvest wants to enter the educational field seriously; for a long time, the following fact will dispel them completely.
This summer, Andrey Berezin announced that his company would build a new governor’s lyceum in St. Petersburg. It will not just build buildings, though this is a big plan: several educational and residential buildings, a sports complex, premises for creative and scientific work, and a beach and pier.
Andrey Berezin explains this step by the desire to protect the country’s future in conditions of a change in the technological mode: “Before, what mattered was a territory, markets, and raw materials. All this is gone and does not mean anything anymore. The only thing that matters is human capital and the country’s intellectual potential. In the world, only what you can invent yourself is valued. There is a division between those who can create something and those who are useless to the world, even consumers. This is happening everywhere. And the main thing for us is not to fall by the wayside at all.”
Still now, looking at Berezin’s long history and company history, one cannot help thinking that his mind is not only on his country, and not even about his own business. He is also thinking about his ego, the mission people look for in psychological blogs. He has found himself in commerce, construction, and innovation, but intends to do so again.
Now, as an engine for the development of Russian education, the industry is as vital as it is problematic. In doing so, Berezin has conceived his new leap into unprecedented times in their complexity and unpredictability. However, it seems this is only capable of inflaming him.
The main structural elements of Euroinvest Holding:
- Euroinvest Development is a construction division
- MC Murino is a construction, commissioning, and operation of infrastructure objects
- Agricultural cluster Krasnoye Znamya is agricultural production
- Euro Venture Fund is an investment in science and technology, coordination of development of industrial enterprises of the holding
- Plants Svetlana PJSC (with its subsidiaries), JSC AK Rigel, JSC Zavod Recond – R&D and industrial production