The FINANCIAL — Lasha Papashvili was born in Georgia on November 18, 1968. In 1989 he got a Bachelor’s Degree in History and in 1993 a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Tbilisi State University. After getting his degree Lasha Papashvili got involved in private business pursuits in Georgia and later in Russia.
From 1997, Papashvili has been the Deputy Chairman of Bank Republic’s Supervisory Council.
Presently Lasha Papashvili’s business includes Bank Republic and the Real Estate Development Company Redix. At the same time, he is involved in numerous charity projects.
Lasha Papashvili is married and has four children.
“When you start your business, of course you hope that you will reach great financial success. Accordingly it was my goal to become a millionaire. I was working very hard and as a result I have reached my goal,” Papashvili said.
“After graduating from university I became involved in business. My first commercial company was in connection with export, which was a good business opportunity.”
“At first I was a director of my commercial company. I remember having no income at all because the company was mine. The first sum I received as a wage was in 1989, when we started export of drinks to Russia.”
Papashvili says the environment he grew up in inspired him to start his own business.
“I graduated from university in the period of the post soviet union. At that time, there was a boom of commercial activities. People began to start private business during that period. The time was very profitable for new enterprises. At the same time I thought that I would be successful in that. It must be underlined that my father was engaged in trade as well and this fact played a great role and partly inspired me to start my business.”
Risks in business
“To take risks in business is inevitable, but unjustifiable risks must not be taken. I always try to foresee several different variants in advance, in order to choose the best and to avoid big losses. Thus risk is very important. It is unimaginable to produce business without risks but it must be underlined that each step must be foreseen in advance and must be ensured at the utmost.”
Papashvili says planning the future is very important in business.
“I am always forming new plans, but at the same time I rely on intuition. Business may be compared to the game Chess, where it is important to think, to have a strategic view and this ensures moves foreseen in advance. You can’t win the game with one run. It is the same in business. You must think about the result, which is affected by your decisions.”
Q. What does your typical workday look like?
A. I have a very busy schedule. My working day begins at 7 o’clock in the morning and continues until 12 o’ clock at night. It’s very difficult to live with such regime, but I have already become accustomed to it and this is the rule of my life nowadays.
Q. Can you tell us about a company or project you have started that failed, and what you learned from the experience?
A. I can’t remember any initiative of mine which has failed. I can tell you about a nut factory which was not relatively successful. That was due to certain reasons. On the one hand, I wasn’t involved in management. We must also remember that we have a big competitor, Turkey, in that field. 80% of the world market is controlled by that country. It’s too difficult to occupy a profitable place when you have only 2% of the world market.
Accordingly our new project was not a success.
It must be underlined that I have learned many things from it. I was properly introduced to agriculture. There are still many problems in this field. My experience helped me to have many successful projects in this sector.
Q. What have your greatest challenges been and how have you overcome them?
A. The greatest challenge for me was an attempt to bring a strategic investor in the banking sector to Georgia, which ended successfully. As you know, we have overcome this challenge. I mean the shares of Bank Republic, which were bought by Societe General. At first I thought that it was impossible, but we were working very hard achieved success. Thus when you work hard, you are able to reach your desired result.
Q. What's the worst mistake you've made in your business life?
A. If the attempt to run a nut business can be called a mistake, then I think that’s my worst mistake. I have told you the reasons why this initiative failed. Another factor was negotiation with Societe General which was on hold during that period. Thus I did not have enough time for a new business.
Q. What do you attribute your success to?
A. My response might be banal, but I think that everything happens according to God’s will, but hard work is very important at the same time.
Q. How has your success changed your life?
A. I think that my success hasn’t significantly changed my life. I wear shirts of the same quality today as I did years ago when I wasn’t involved in business. As for my personal life, I can’t see any changes there either, but I think that other people can estimate that better.
Q. Who is your business idol?
A. Every successful businessman is my business idol. People think that everything is achieved by chance. It helps to be lucky, but I consider real success to be a result of hard work. Thus every person in the world today who is a successful businessman, must be respected. Among them Warren Buffett and Donald Trump. It must be underlined that Donald Trump was bankrupted several times, but now he is one of the most successful businessmen of our times.
Q. What advice would you give to people who are intending to become millionaires?
A. People who intend to become millionaires mustn’t concentrate too much on money. They mustn’t seek reasons to justify themselves. The result and the success Warren Buffett and I have reached can be achieved by any person. A person is able to do anything. He is able not only to become a millionaire, but to make miracles happen as well. Thus a person should live in the right way, he must study well, he must work hard and the result will be seen very soon. He will become a millionaire by all means!