Myrzabek Orumbajew is the “toy boss” of Kyrgyzstan, but he does not have anything to do with toys. In his business, everything revolves around polony sausage, although he was originally a computer engineer. In an interview, the 33-year-old describes how he started off selling sandwiches and the path that led him to become the leading polony sausage manufacturer in Kyrgyzstan.
GIZ: Mr Orumbajew, what does the expression “toy boss” actually mean? To us it sounds English.
Myrzabek Orumbajew: (laughing): Well, with “boss” you’re quite right; the English definition of the word is what is meant. ‘Toy’ is Kyrgyz and means “feast”. Together it means more or less “someone who loves good food”. We thought up the name within my family circle after we had placed the brought polony sausage onto the market. It has been our brand name ever since and is already very well-known locally. We are very active in social media and on the radio and have our own commercials.
You have a degree in computer engineering. How did you become a sausage manufacturer?
After I completed my studies, I worked in computer engineering for a while but soon realised that sitting at a computer all day wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I was always impressed by people who are self-employed and fulfil their dream. So I decided to launch a venture of my own and began selling sandwiches in Bishkek with my two brothers. Business went well, but we were not satisfied with the quality of the polony sausage. When we couldn’t find a supplier who made better polony, we said to ourselves: then we’ll make our own! We gradually learnt the ropes of the business, produced the first polony and developed further. In the meantime, we have split the business; my younger brother makes sandwiches, and the other two of us produce the meat products. We are a real family business.
You participated in the MP in April 2016. What fascinates you about Germany?
A lot of traditional German businesses have been owned by families for generations and have a high standard. That impresses me and I wanted to learn something from them for my own firm. To me, success means becoming even better, continuing to develop further and undergoing training. Companies must not stagnate. That is why we are currently investing in a new factory – in which we will, incidentally, be using German machinery that I bought during the MP. When I arrived in Germany, I knew exactly what I needed because I had already met with a dealer in Moscow. However, the prices for German technology were very high and I was just about to fall back on less expensive Polish and Turkish machinery. Through the MP, I was able to establish personal contacts to the manufacturers and buy the machinery directly from Germany – for half the price. The machines are still roughly 20 per cent more expensive that those of the competitors, but are within my budget. To me, the quality is worth it.
What exactly did you buy?
I bought a universal cooking and smoking installation from Bayha & Strackbein, a cutter for chopping and grinding meat products, a sausage filler from Handtmann and a clip closure installation from Poly-clip. Altogether, I invested about 400,000 euros. The factory opening is planned for March 2017. With the new machinery, we can produce five times as much as we have been producing so far and increase our turnover up to 15 million euros. Today we produce three to four tonnes of meat products a day; as from 2017, roughly 20 tonnes will roll off the production line. With that, we can also increase our export business.
What are your export goals?
Up to now, we have sold our products to neighbouring Central Asian countries. That is done via middlemen who buy from us and take care of the necessary export documents and everything else. About 20 per cent of our production is exported this way. In the future, we want to include exporting in our corporate strategy and establish an export department. We plan to increase the export share to 70 per cent. For a start, we want to supply the countries in the Eurasian Customs Union, then China and Europe. By the way, Germany is also one of our target markets. The new factory will lay the foundation: with it, we will not only increase our capacity, but also the quality of our goods.
Thank you very much for the interview!