From Personal Success to Global Impact: Igor Makarov’s Dedication to Charitable Causes

By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on May 7, 2024

From humble beginnings in Turkmenistan, Igor Makarov did not imagine the heights he would reach as a global business leader. Transitioning from a professional cyclist to a worldwide entrepreneur, he has always believed that success is not merely a personal achievement but a platform to uplift others.

Throughout his career, whether in sports or business, he has consistently held the conviction that life’s true value lies in making a meaningful impact. Driven by this vision, Makarov has dedicated himself to empowering individuals, nurturing talents, and supporting causes that allow everyone to thrive in a competitive world.

A Cyclist Veteran Who Empowered a New Wave of Cyclists

Makarov is widely recognized for his achievements in the business world. However, only a few know he was a cyclist before becoming a businessman. His love for cycling became his early career and remains a cherished hobby and favorite pastime today.

Hailing from a sports school in Turkmenistan, Makarov proved to be a prodigy, quickly honing his skills. At only 16, he already represented his country at the World Championships. He faced unexpected challenges during his rising career, from discriminatory practices to unfair treatment. These trials ultimately led him to step away from competitive cycling.

However, “first love never dies” indeed; Makarov’s love for the sport never waned. Instead, he pivoted toward a broader mission of nurturing other potential cyclists by establishing the professional cycling team Katusha Team. Registered in Switzerland, Katusha was initially funded solely by him for over a decade, reflecting his commitment to nurturing budding cyclists.

From this initial investment, Katusha soon became a ground for international cycling talent, achieving notable success in prestigious competitions such as the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. Under Makarov’s leadership, the team further established its position in cycling, attracting major European sponsors like Canyon and Alpecin. 

Beyond the race tracks, Makarov’s contribution to world cycling development extended through his role on the UCI Management Committee and his support for the Union Européenne de Cyclisme (UEC) federations. His initiatives provided crucial support, promoting cycling as a sport and embodying the spirit of global camaraderie and competition.

Turning His Eye on Social Issues

From his fruitful years in cycling, Makarov then made his mark in the business world. He founded his first company, ITERA Group, in 1992, focusing on consumer goods supply to his native Turkmenistan. The company shifted in 1994 when it received natural gas from Turkmenistan in a barter deal for food products. This became a starting point of his venture into the oil and gas sector. 

Building on this opportunity, Makarov steered ITERA into pioneering gas transportation from Turkmenistan to Ukraine in 1995 and expanded its reach across post-Soviet states and Eastern Europe. Over six years, Makarov and ITERA invested in developing nine oil and gas fields. The company experienced growth and success until an unfortunate shift in the oil and gas sector on the national level led Makarov to strategically sell ITERA in 2013 and leave the Russian market completely.

However, this conclusion marked a new beginning for Makarov. In 2015, he founded the Europe-based ARETI International Group, steering his focus toward a diverse portfolio of investments across various global regions. Based in Cyprus, ARETI has diversified interests encompassing energy, charity, and sports development. 

Over the past 30 years, Makarov’s companies have initiated and supported various large-scale charity projects and events, channeling the leader’s commitment to philanthropy and helping numerous lives globally. These initiatives earned recognition, including UNESCO gold certificates and a gold medal.

Among the notable charitable initiatives led by Makarov and his companies are the establishment of a clinic for adults with autism within the Mount Sinai medical complex in Miami Beach in 2017, support for the Downside-Up Project, which aids children with Down syndrome and their families, and the impactful organization of the 11th annual ANF Group Tour de Broward, which raised over $700,000 for the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood. 

Additionally, Makarov’s initiatives include grassroots projects, such as organizing New Year’s celebrations and circus events for orphaned children, and substantial environmental contributions, like funding the construction of a park in Limassol, Cyprus, which serves recreational and ecological purposes for Limassol constituents.

When asked why he pursues these charitable initiatives despite his success in cycling and entrepreneurship, Makarov consistently responds, “Helping other people humbles us because we believe that’s our debt to society.” This principle has inspired Makarov to continuously seek ways and opportunities to help and contribute to society.

Makarov’s Current Endeavors

Makarov’s years of participation in global business have brought him to Cyprus, where he now resides and holds citizenship. He actively pursues his hobbies and interests in the picturesque Mediterranean country. 

Despite navigating complex challenges in his business dealings, Makarov stays true to his principles of using his resources and influence to promote global welfare. The businessman is eager to continue championing charitable and social causes, particularly projects tackling and advancing green energy worldwide.

By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Greg Grzesiak is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and Columnist at Grit Daily. As CEO of Grzesiak Growth LLC, Greg dedicates his time to helping CEOs influencers and entrepreneurs make the appearances that will grow their following in their reach globally. Over the years he has built strong partnerships with high profile educators and influencers in Youtube and traditional finance space. Greg is a University of Florida graduate with years of experience in marketing and journalism.

Read more

More GD News