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Russian Old Believers' Business works well in Australia

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Russian Old Believers' Business works well in Australia

22.12.2017

Some people associate contemporary business society with values that are very far from Christian ones. Someone views this as a greed, feels a desire to get rich using others, thinks that business and honesty contradict each other. But the life proofs opposite.

Door Manufacturer company Kelso works for almost 40 years in sunny Australia, very far from Russian borders. Kelso director is a hereditary Old Believer, 71 years oldMikhail Ovchinnikov. Milkhail Moiseevich is full of energy and keeps pace with so many things that it's easy to envy him. Businessman, community activist and philanthropist proves with his life that the faith in God helps to achieve success in all endeavors, including business.

KELSO Company Staff


According to the businessman, the Old Believers' faith comprising diligence, work unity and mutual support principles helped his large family to achieve success on the fifth continent. “We were never scared of hard work since any work for Old Believer is pleasant,” shares Mikhail.

Australian entrepreneur was born in Trekhrechie village (Three-river village) in China where his parents had to escape after Russian Revolution in 1917. They lived modestly but happy, keeping strict order in community. All members of the large family worked, no one was alcoholised, no one been idle. All Sundays were devoted to God, they went to church and prayed old manuscripts.

After the communist regime was established in China the life of Mikhail's family has became too hard. In 1962 the big family consisting of parents, two brothers and five sisters had to escape again, this time to Australia.

At the age 16 Mikhail found himself in an absolutely unknown setting - new country with unknown culture and foreign language that he didn't understand. Yes, we didn't feel easy. Although we had to survive somehow, we had to make money to pay for food and for a roof, shares today's millionaire Ovchinnikov. On the third day of our stay I took a job in a laundry. For someone it might look humiliating. But I wasn't scared to work, I was ready to do everything I could to be independent.

Three years after emigrating to Australia Mikhail opened his own business. At first he worked as constructor, then opened a store, then started manufacturing doors. Of course not everything ran smoothly – there were good and bad days, there were ups and downs. However, Mikhail continued working day-by-day, moving slowly towards the set target. Lucky moments don't cause overly joy and losses for their part, don't bring Old-Believers down. We overcome everything with the help of the faith, smiles Ovchinnikov.

After almost 40 years of hard work his company is well-known in and outside Australia being the most successful company among Russian compatriots' businesses in Australia. Kelso has also entered 500 top list of private companies in New South Wales. It received the first prize in 2013 as the Best Ethnic Business.

Knowing deprivation from his own experience, Mikhail Ovchinnikov feels committed to give job those in need, who moved to Australia because of prevailing circumstances. He knows like no one else all the job and money-related burdens that newcomers experience. I have one rule: if one has made money he should know that God gives a possibility to help someone else. I have helped many people, and the God has reciprocated with good friends and new ideas.

Among others, young people from Sri Lanka work in Kelso. They produce beautiful doors with machine tools and planers for private customers and for major organizations. Today these workers own nice cars and rent spacious apartments, help their relatives in motherland, they can even take credit or mortgage in bank... However just a few know how hard their life was just several yers ago, when they had to escape Sri Lanka leaving close ones behind. Some of these asylum seekers have miraculously survived arriving in Australia by boat.

When I first saw them at the company's gates, my heart sank. These simply dressed young guys came to search for a job without any qualifications and any knowledge of English. They only knew one word that they've repeated continuously - work, work, recalls Mikhail. They came to my gates several days in the row how I could leave them in the lurch?

Businessman hired Sri-Lankans and started teaching them all necessary skills from the scratch. At first it wasn't easy, counting lack of experience and a language barrier. However, Mikhail treated them with understanding. He's always remembered his own hard way to success, he knew that any knowledge doesn't come quickly and a patience is needed. Today, after few years passed, young workers have necessary qualifications.

Through his own example Mikhail Ovchinnikov have proved: the faith doesn't contradict business and conscience.The faith helps to run a business, work productively and benefit society.

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