President of the “Freedom Group” international holding company. Founder of the “Growing Up Together” foundation
Born in 1987. A well-known Russian entrepreneur, executive, top manager. Owner and President of the “Freedom Group” international holding company, which includes more than 40 projects and businesses with a total value of over 2.5 billion dollars. He earned a graduate degree in Canada (McGill University, majoring in Finance and Accounting) and in the United States, where he studied at Harvard University on an exchange program. In addition to Russian, he is fluent in English and Armenian and also speaks some Chinese. He is a teacher a personal development and career consultant, a public figure, and a philanthropist. Narek is a happy family man: together with his wife Nadezhda, they are raising a son and daughter.
At a certain point in the development of his personal wealth, Narek made it a rule to donate part of his income to charity. “Now my family does not need anything, I am also confident about the well-being of my team members. However, in addition to people from my environment, in Russia there is a huge number of those who need help, those who, perhaps, are simply less fortunate,” Narek wrote on Instagram about the reasons for his decision.
One time, my wife and I were at the Bolshoi Theatre and a woman was sitting next to her son, who had Down syndrome,” says the entrepreneur. “When the boy laughed at the wrong time, people turned around and even made comments. His mom blushed and apologized. While studying in America, I saw children with special needs everywhere: they are treated with understanding there, they are part of society. This difference in attitude touched me deeply. I realized that I wanted to get serious about this topic.
Narek began to privately help some organizations specializing in working with special children. He even thought about opening his own charitable foundation to help children with disabilities. But in the end, he found the most effective option: to help existing NGOs develop.
“Growing Up Together” Charitable Foundation
In 2020, the entrepreneur founded the “Growing Up Together” charitable foundation to provide marketing and media support to non-profit charity organizations.
As for direct work with charities, I am not an expert in this area,” the top manager explains his decision. “But I am good at helping organizations and companies grow and taking them to the next level. The experience of building Freedom Group's business in various fields, from pharmaceuticals to e-sports, is what we have in our arsenal. We assumed that we could adapt this approach to the work of the 'third sector'.
In order to more accurately define the strategy of his foundation, Narek initiated a comprehensive study of the sphere of philanthropy in Russia. On his instructions, a group of analysts studied open data on foundations working with children with disabilities.
It turned out that about 800 charities are working on this problem in the country. In total, they attracted 9.87 billion rubles in donations in 2019. At the same time, half of the funds raised went to the seven most popular foundations in the country; the second half was attracted by another 217 NGOs, while the remaining charities (there are more than 500!) worked without funding. A seasoned manager, Narek concluded that the best thing he could do was to help underperforming funds gain prominence and "get rolling." This would allow them to attract new financing and help many, many more people in solving their health problems.
We studied the industry deeply enough. And we realized that a huge number of NGOs work honestly and efficiently, but they often don't even have a normal website: all their resources are spent on directly helping the children,” Narek comments on the findings of the study. “We are ready to help them. Our foundation can provide technical support for their social media, organize events, provide PR and GR support, do everything that will attract much more attention. And, as a result, they will have more resources for their main, charitable activities. We are ready to deal with IT support, marketing and online education. ‘Freedom Group’ uses this model when interacting with businesses within the holding company. And I am sure it will prove its effectiveness in working with charitable organizations. If we can arrange our work in such a way as to cover all foundations dealing with children with disabilities, the problem will become much more visible and will receive a greater public response. As a result, such stories as the one at the Bolshoi Theatre will become history.