Bulat Utemuratov is a Kazakh entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the key investor in the projects managed by Verny Capital, with his business interests covering finances, telecommunication and media, hotel business, real estate, natural resources, transport and logistics, consumer goods and services.
In 2014, Bulat Utemuratov established a charitable foundation with a mission to drive sustainable improvement to the quality of life in Kazakhstan by promoting health, education, and cultural development.
The Bulat Utemuratov Foundation’s allocated $12 million to its flagship project "Autism. One World for All" which provides early intervention programs for autistic children and support for their families. More than 15,000 autistic children have benefited from support in 12 Asyl Miras Autism Centers over the course of eight years.
The Foundation is one of few local organizations in Kazakhstan to have a broad reach and diverse portfolio of national projects. This versatile approach promotes sustainable improvements in the country’s standard of living while also allowing the Foundation to respond to critical emergencies. Along with providing emergency response at the local level, in 2023 the Foundation donated $5 million to help communities in Turkey manage the devastating consequences of the earthquake that shook the country.
To address the regional social development gap, the Foundation has initiated a variety of projects in different regions of Kazakhstan worth over $90 million. Most recently, the Foundation embarked on the development of a community center and a school in the town of Kosshy. Meanwhile, it also launched construction of a new airport terminal in the southern city of Kyzylorda. Upon completion, the airport terminal will be donated to the local municipality.
As part of its philanthropic activities, the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation actively promotes positive youth development. A unique leadership program has been incorporated into the school curriculum in 80 schools to help students develop critical thinking, public speaking, and negotiation skills. Furthermore, to foster a culture of sustainability and teamwork, the Foundation initiated the Jasyl Mektep (Green School) project in 36 schools in Almaty and Astana. Through the program, children can learn a pattern of healthy activity, by planting and cultivating plants, and develop self-confidence by achieving their goals and enjoying the food that they have grown. A total of 40,000 students have participated in the two programs so far.
In addition to his philanthropic activities, Mr. Utemuratov is passionate about improving education in Kazakhstan. Since 2007, he has supported Narxoz University, one of the country’s leading private universities. Bulat Utemuratov is also one of the founders of the Haileybury Schools in Kazakhstan, which offer a broad liberal education following the traditions of independent British schooling. All proceeds are reinvested into the university and schools, being directed to staff capacity building, infrastructure development, and on improving education quality.
In 2007, Bulat Utemuratov was appointed President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation. In 2017, his efforts for tennis development were recognized with awards from the International Tennis Federation and the Asian Tennis Federation "for outstanding achievements in tennis development in Kazakhstan”. He allocated over $100 million for the development of tennis and the construction of tennis infrastructure in the country. Under his leadership, Kazakhstan hosted its first ATP 500 tournament in 2022.
Bulat Utemuratov is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and, since October 2019, he is one of the four Vice Presidents of ITF.
Summarizing his 15-year tenure at the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, Bulat Utemuratov said: “The creation of infrastructure, development of children's tennis and hard work of a professional team of managers and coaches led Kazakhstan tennis to a qualitatively new international level. Elena Rybakina’s triumph at Wimbledon 2022, and recent successes of the national and junior teams, are a testament to this and provide the motivation for the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation to continue investing in the development of the sport in Kazakhstan. It also inspires our younger players to keep working hard and striving for international success.”
Bulat Utemuratov actively supports culture and art. He also supports the Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation and a national wooden and brass wind instruments competition, and allocates scholarships for talented young students of music schools and universities throughout the country. Regular exhibitions of Kulanshi Center for Contemporary Art are held under his patronage at the ForteBank Kulanshi Art Space.