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A great opportunity for start-ups

Another great opportunity for start-ups in Georgia and CIS countries.
Find an easy way to enter global market, implement projects in one of the largest financial groups, get support of an experienced mentor, test your product in practice and attract investments.
Opportunity to collect applications is available till 31 of August 2018.
Participation is held by VTB Acceleration and is completely free of charge. If you are a start-up having experience in big data & analytics, scoring technologies, blockchain, AI, biometrics, “Know your customer” technologies or cyber-security, follow the link below for more detailed information and application form:
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The 3rd Tourism and Hospitality Conference within Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards

On June 4th the 3rd Tourism and Hospitality Conference within Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards was held at the Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi. 

The Conference was opened by Co-Founder/Managing Partner of the Project, Maryna Chayka. She welcomed guests and promised very interesting competition year for Nominees of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards 2018. The first Vice Prime Minister/Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Dimitry Kumsishvili, CEO of Partnership Fund Davit Saganelidze, head of Georgian National Tourism Administration George Chogovadze also addressed the guests with the welcome speeches. They spoke about the importance of tourism for the development of our country, in general, as well as for Tbilisi, as one of the major tourist destination in the country, and emphasized the role of each company in contributing to this field.

During panel discussions, the representatives of government and private sector discussed the challenges and opportunities in tourism and hospitality industry, top market suppliers and field experts made presentations on international standards and safety for hospitality industry, and on the importance of digital marketing in tourism. Even more, the organizers of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards introduced to the guests new Jury Board, new categories and a lot of other interesting news about the Project. The participants of the Conference had an opportunity to arrange B2B meetings with each other to communicate and to establish useful business connections

More than 350 representatives of respective industry, government officials, international and local experts and media were attending the 3rd Tourism and Hospitality Conference.

The Tourism and Hospitality Conference within Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards Project is an annual business event held in Georgia since 2016 and is unique business platform, where different companies and organizations have an opportunity to exchange information, communicate and catch up with the latest trends and challenges in the spheres of tourism and hospitality, and in Georgian business industry in general.

Project supported by: the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Tbilisi City Hall and Partnership Fund, Co-organizers: Georgian National Tourism Administration and Bank of Georgia. Project’s Independent Auditor – “BDO in Georgia”, General Sponsor – Alliance Group. BUSINESS GEORGIA is a media partner since the establishment of the project.

For more detailed information about the Project, please visit website www.awards-tourism.com

 

 

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Tech Startup STYX Wins Seedstars Tbilisi 2018

STYX a tech company from Georgia won Seedstars startup competition on May 29. Ten best startups from Tbilisi were invited to pitch in front of an investment panel and compete to be crowned the most promising seed-stage startup of Seedstars Tbilisi 2018 in Tech Park.

STYX is a tech-enabled logistic company that instantly connects shippers with carriers via mobile app and SAAS platform. “We found the way that help carriers grow their businesses on their own terms. Shippers do not get inflated prices and can track their freight 24/7”. Using STYX website and app is free for everyone, company only charges carriers when they earn money.

STYX does not participate in pricing. The startup will join the global Seedstars Family and take part in the regional and global Seedstars Summits that include our tried and tested bootcamp and investor forum. It’s a catalytic platform for high growth emerging market startups.

 

Mydoc.chat and gamasin.ge took third and second places respectively.

 

BUSINESS GEORGIA is a media partner of Seedstars startup competition.

 

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Seedstars Tbilisi 2018 to be held on May 29 in Tech Park

BUSINESS GEORGIA as a media partner of the Seedstars 2018, is ready to support all startups in Georgia by spreading information for developing local business activities.

 

Alliance Group Holding Extends 3-year Contract with Seedstars and on May 29 the 10 best startups from Tbilisi will be invited to pitch in front of an investment panel and compete to be crowned the most promising seed-stage startup of Seedstars Tbilisi 2018 in Tech Park.

The winning startup will join the global Seedstars Family and take part in the regional and global Seedstars Summits that include our tried and tested bootcamp and investor forum. It’s a catalytic platform for high growth emerging market startups.

In addition to seeing the top startups pitch, you can look forward to an event filled with disruptive tech, inspirational discussions, networking sessions and one flight ticket for the winner to come to Switzerland to compete for over $1mn in investment.

“Today’s innovative ideas lead to revolutionary development of different sectors of the companies. The countries that have such innovative companies created and the adequate environment of development, are significantly more competitive. This is the main advantage of developed countries. Georgia should be actively involved in these processes, to draw and quickly adopt other countries well-tested and approved practice.” – Says Aieti Kukava, Executive Director of “Alliance Group Holding”.

To apply for the competition the startups need to be fluent in English and meet the following criteria:

  1. Be less than 2 years old
  2. Have raised less than USD 500 000 of funding to date
  3. Have an MVP and have regional & global scalability potential

If you are relevant startup, join us and register:

To apply: https://seedsta.rs/tbilisi18_apply

Invitation code: ssw-tbilisi-2018-af

Registration deadline: May 24  at 00:00.

Event Agenda

Last Year Participants

 

For more information please visit: https://www.facebook.com/Seedstarstbilisi/?hc_ref=ARRM7aPWQBNCKYfJxY7RyUnjxwKTwLYnwGRnjeaT75ao5BbzTd2Kd-kxQXgQDKnWgRw&fref=nf

 

 

 

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New Generation of Start-ups and entrepreneurs in Georgia

Georgia became startup-friendly country especially after the opening of the First Technology Park in 2016, Tbilisi.  Tech Park started providing young creators with high quality equipment and great possibilities to turn their ideas into reality and it gave a big stimulus to young people to develop their businesses and contacts with potential investors.

In 2016, newly started project Start-up Georgia attracted 726 applicants from different regions of Georgia. 146 applicants were regarded as high technology business ideas and 580 were submitted as creative and innovative ideas. These entrepreneurs got great financial and theoretical support for developing their businesses.

Eight lucky winners of these startups became even globally known after presenting their innovative projects in front of 50 American investors in Silicon Valley, in 2017. Georgian start-ups also received specially organized training from local experts and attended special event dedicated to our country too.

Setting up a business in Georgia is a straightforward process and it creates even more business-friendly atmosphere for newcomers. The system is very efficient because it is based on promotion of the establishment of new enterprises.

For registration any start-up or firm must follow these 3 stages in Georgia: 1) Pay the registration fee – 100 GEL but if it’s very urgent one can fasten the procedure by doubling this amount, 2) Register the company with the Entrepreneurial Register and get an identification number and certificate of state and tax registration with no charge and 3) Open a corporate account in the bank from 10 to 100 GEL (depending on the bank) and the most important, all these procedures only take 1 day to complete.

Nowadays, Georgian startups also have great ability to show their products in various exhibitions, free-markets, etc. among of which Startup Market Expo’s annual exhibition is the guarantee of success for both small businesses and startups which introduce their products in front of potential customers. Startup Market Expo was already held in 2016 and 2017. Fortunately, organizers aren’t planning to lose pace.

Lately, banks in Georgia started making contribution in developing businesses. Most of them offer financial or non-financial support to business newcomers and have specially composed terms of loans for them, with personal payment schedule. These programs support and stimulate new startups and the information about each program is easily accessible for any interested person on banks’ online platforms.

It must be mentioned that according to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2018 report, Georgia has improved its performance by 7 positions over the past year, and has moved from 16th to 9th place. Doing Business rating encompassed 190 countries, and Georgia is among the leading 10, which objectively reflects the results of the economic reforms of the Georgian Government.

Of course entrepreneurial spirit of Georgia has a positive effect on the country’s economy as a whole but each entrepreneur who sets up a business, should make it clear will their project succeed or not before taking on financial risks in the hope of profit, as long as, companies and people standing on the another side are expecting the same from them too.

Author: Tamar Devdariani © BUSINESS GEORGIA

Art Business

Doing Art Business in Georgia

Despite that in the past art was mostly perceived much like a hobby, in modern world artists have real opportunities to follow their artistic skills and transform their intentions into art-based businesses. As these activities are somehow linked to the economical welfare of the country, unfortunately there still exists states where art is hardly considered as a money earning business and unfortunately Georgia is among them.

Art is a diverse range of human activities which intends to be appreciated for their beauty and emotional power, including music, theater, film, dance and other performing arts, as well as literature, architecture, painting and many more. Some of them mentioned above are more successful in developing countries like Georgia than the others. For instance, if we are talking about material privileges, architects have wider prospects than painters or musicians here, as long as this kind of art, roughly speaking, is more practical and useful for so-called “real-businesses” to fulfill their plans than the others.

Statistically, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia’s survey, the number of students enrolling for the bachelor’s programs to the faculty of Arts and Science grew almost 1.6 times in 2011 and 2015 years and every year, hundreds of young people are becoming students of Tbilisi State Academy of Arts of Georgia, which is the leading higher art institutions of Georgia offering high quality educations corresponding to modern requirements.

Giving a person education has become easier today than teaching them how to realize this knowledge and transform it into something materially beneficial for them and we usually lack the culture of teaching people how to make business with the profession they are perfectly good at.

This circumstances are still problematic in Georgia and so, graduate students mostly give up their profession. According to the survey conducted by Friedrich Ebert Foundation in 2016, 31% of young people are partly employed by their profession and 35% of them have lost connection with their first profession and had to fit different types of working activities.

Of course these numbers aren’t promising for so many students which enroll rather non-profitable faculties of Georgia like Art, but lately some events gave stimulus to creative young people to realize their handmade works or artistic services taking part in exhibitions with lower expenditures. For instance, painters now can post their works in e-auctions and this is one of the options of turning your creativity into a career in many countries.

Unfortunately, this kind of innovations stay unknown for older Georgian artist who try to sell own works or services in the streets, parks, etc., and there are no firm activities of gathering all of their artworks together. But even one glimpse around these artists is enough to see that usually tourists are the ones who are mostly interested in getting this kind of art.

Following the information given by FactCheck analysts of Georgia, the number of people living below the absolute poverty line grew by 0.5% in 2016 year and reached almost 21.3% of whole population and we can’t blame society about not paying enough attention to the art while living conditions are deplorable even for bigger number of population.

Even if modern Georgian writers will publish their books, only few readers can afford to “take a risk” while saving money for getting books to read a new authors works than worldwide known classical writer. We see also many talented musicians who strive for foreign countries and it’s obvious, whilst even winning some musical competitions doesn’t give them much chances to try career in mother land.

We can say that one of the most underrated fields of art in Georgia are film and theater, strangely even those international awards-winning Georgian films and animations are hardly seen on television, internet or cinemas and the reason for that, which is often mentioned even by artists themselves is that the media doesn’t pay enough attention to promoting our countries cultural achievements whilst in 21st century media became the strongest weapon in any direction you are aiming for.

So, as long as Georgian society realizes how strongly our indifference  and ignorance affects art-makers whose career will always be directed to the foreign cultures, till the schools and universities will not approach more practical direction of developing students’ entrepreneurial skills, above-mentioned statistics about poverty will be under strong necessity of improving and country will always have issues with developing any fields of art and art business in Georgia.

Author: Tamar Devdariani © BUSINESS GEORGIA

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Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards announced new competition year

Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards and Bank of Georgia are celebrating three years of fruitful partnership and this year cooperation has moved to a new level.

Two years ago within the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards Bank of Georgia successfully launched special category for small and medium segments – “THE FASTEST GROWING COMPANY OF THE YEAR IN THE SME SEGMENT AWARD”. The main reason of initiating this category was to encourage and motivate companies working in the SME segment in tourism and hospitality industry. And, last year for the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards 2017 Bank of Georgia developed second, a very special category – “THE BEST WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY AWARD”. This category was created specially to encourage and motivate female leaders who have dedicated their career to development of Georgian tourism and hospitality industry and from the beginning this nomination had great response and interest from the side of women working in this field.

This year organizers of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards Project promise much more interesting competition year for the companies working in this field full of interesting news and more opportunities for 2018. New categories, new jury expert board and other news will be known to the industry on the Third Tourism and Hospitality Conference within Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards.

Tourism and Hospitality Conference within Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards Project is held since 2016 as a unique business platform to exchange information, communicate and catch up with the latest trends and challenges in Tourism and Hospitality sphere and Georgian Business industry in general. The aim of this Conference is to consolidate representatives of respective industry, government officials; international and local experts, media and opportunity to promote campaign among wide target audience, to establish useful contacts and business relations with all key persons of industry.

The Third Tourism and Hospitality Conference will include: panel discussions; B2B meetings and interesting presentations from the top market suppliers and professionals while participants will have an opportunity to get latest developments and upcoming projects in Georgian tourism and hospitality industry.

The Third Tourism and Hospitality Conference will be held at the beginning of June, 2018 at the Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi. For more information follow on Facebook or get all the updated on the web-site – www.awards-tourism.com

BUSINESS GEORGIA is pleased to be a media partner of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards since the first awards ceremony held in Georgia.

Learning business

Challenges in Business Education system of Georgia

According to the general definition Business Education involves teaching students the fundamentals, theories and processes of business, as an educational field, it occurs at several levels, including secondary, higher and university education.

Approximately 38% of students enroll in one or more business courses during their high school tenure around the world  but unfortunately, not every country is familiar with this tendency, for instance, Business Education is taught at secondary level in Austria, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, etc. in Georgia and in most of other countries Business as an academic study can be learnt mostly at the university level.

In Georgia including business education in school studies started in 2015 when conversation was going on inserting business skills as a subject for elementary school children, project was funded by the USAID in collaboration with The Ministry of Science and Education of Georgia and Junior Achieving Georgia, at the first stage this reform was planned to be introduced in twenty-seven schools, teachers of which were specially trained for this novelty.

This program offered unique educational experience for students as a result of which they would better understand and perceive business world, which they are expected to have right after finishing school. Business Skills classes at the primary (I-IV) classes were conducted by tutors and volunteers invited from the private sector, which themselves leaded the program for V-VI classes.

Business lessons included fun games and activities, where volunteers shared the basic concepts of economics and finances, helping children to solve their problems in creative ways and consolidating useful life skills too but time after time speech about the business education hushed up and today most of the schools don’t have this field included in school agenda but even these activities only couldn’t help changing whole picture of Georgian school education, as long as country’s rural schools still face big problems connected with money, transportation, etc. and situation is getting even worse in mountainous regions where schools usually have problem with  hiring competent executives of some subjects, thus, before intense implementation of Business field whilst school learning, the government will have to manage preparatory actions connected to school life in general too.

In 2016, Georgia has opened its first Tech Park, providing the capital, Tbilisi, with a dedicated site for the development of innovations and technologies, which already became space for unique business possibilities and the most important, it strongly encourages young people, even schoolchildren of last classes to enter in useful business trainings for free, share the knowledge of already successful entrepreneurs and even more, initiate own startups which have great opportunity of reaching local or foreign business sector representatives and fortunately, more and more young people are involved in these processes.

Business education is quite popular among Georgian school-leavers, but has it real prospects or not is still in need of proving, let’s look at the statistics, according to National Assessment and Examination Center in 2016 the highest number of applicants were driven into Ilia State University Business Administration faculty but if we draw parallels, according to the research conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, in the same year about 46 % of young people under the age of 14-29 were unemployed  and it’s also noteworthy that only 31% of young people were employed by their first profession, in which Business is firmly included. Reasons of unfortunate statistics can be many, but mostly that students usually take only theoretical education of Business, whilst, the best way of learning this field is to practically arrange theoretical part, as it is done in many foreign universities.

Business Education usually combines elements of accountancy, finance, marketing, organizational studies, human resource management and economics, thus, informing people with this knowledge from school age will help them to acquire useful skills for future career and most important, prepare them psychologically for the time when they’ll have to face far more important obstacles of life which will begin to surface right after achieving school degree, thus, for Georgia, which has great resources for  businesses, having lack of people knowing how to manage and gather together all these resources strongly affects economic development of the country.

Maybe that’s the reason why most of business organizations in the area are run by foreign entrepreneurs as long as there is a lack of local cultural background of teaching how to do business from childhood and general educational system isn’t ready to prepare competitive young entrepreneurs acquired with strong practical business skills and only few exceptions are willing to make their own contribution in the field.

 

Author: Tamar Devdariani © BUSINESS GEORGIA

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EU & the Georgian Government review 4 years of EU support to agriculture

An estimated 250,000 rural Georgians benefited from current support, EU announces third phase of assistance worth 230 million GEL

13, December 2017, Tbilisi – At the conference “Improving Rural Lives” held in Tbilisi, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Ambassador of the European Union Janos Herman, and Minister of Agriculture Levan Davitashvili summarized the results of the first phase of the EU’s European Neighborhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgia which ran from 2014 to 2017. An estimated 250,000 Georgians in rural areas directly benefited from the programme.

The EU also used the event to announce a further 230 million GEL (77.5 million EUR) for a third phase of ENPARD to run from 2018-2021.

At the event, the official keynote speeches were followed by a session with the participation of EU beneficiaries. The representatives of EU funded agricultural and rural development projects shared their experiences and success stories, as well as discussed the challenges and future perspectives. In addition, presentation of external evaluation report on different components of ENPARD Phase I was delivered by ENPARD external evaluation team.

In the framework of the event, ENPARD cooperatives gallery and the photo-exhibition of the EU-funded rural development initiatives were organized, so the guests could observe the programme’s results.

The event was attended over 150 representatives of the Government, EU partners and ENPARD implementing international and local organizations, diplomatic corps and the media.

BUSINESS GEORGIA was a media partner of the event.

About ENPARD

The EU supports agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EU 179.5 million (over GEL 500 million), the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase of ENPARD is centered on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. The third phases will continue strengthening the agriculture sector, and also focus food safety and quality standards and further development of the rural development model.

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Five Reasons to Invest in Georgian Agriculture

Agriculture has both big economic and social functions in Georgia. The sector employs more than half of the country’s work force and for many families, income from agriculture is the only source of their livelihood. At present, interest in the private sector, as well as in the volume of investment is not very high. However, there are many examples of successful projects owing to local and foreign investment.

 

Here are the main reasons for a favorable investment environment in the agricultural sector of Georgia.

 

Natural Conditions

Georgian agriculture has favorable natural conditions and resources for agricultural production. We have 22 different climates in the country, including both cold and dry as well as warm and humid. Almost half of the country’s total area can be used as ​​agricultural land. Further, there are naturally favorable conditions for grain, vegetable, fruit and sub-tropical crops.

 

Almost the whole territory of the country can be considered as fertile land where a variety of agricultural crops are able to be harvested. At the same time, the country is rich in water resources and irrigation systems exist in almost every region.

 

Investment Direction:  Nowadays, cultivars such as nuts or so-called “dwarf nuts,” blueberry, blackberry and pistachio are popular. They are well adapted to the local environment, characterized by their high productivity, selling price and a core market that perfectly satisfies producer interest.

 

Low Production Costs

Hiring workers in the agricultural sector is quite inexpensive. More than 60 percent of workers are employed in agriculture. Between the country’s industrial sectors, agriculture is the lowest paid overall. In the first half of 2016, the index was GEL 1 per month. This number is much lower as compared to the salaries in most EU countries. Additionally, the local labor force, as a rule, is quite experienced and well aware of the agricultural production process. Most Georgian farmers have been involved in agricultural activities since their childhood and they possess a significant amount of knowledge.

 

Energy resources required and used in the agricultural production process in Georgia are considered to be low volume. Irrigation water per hectare in eastern Georgia costs GEL 75 and GEL 45 in western Georgia. To compare these prices with those in Europe, it is higher in many European countries:  Greece, EUR 73 to 210, Italy EUR 30 to 150, Spain EUR 62 and Portugal EUR 120.

 

It should also be noted that the purchase or lease of agricultural land in Georgia is also inexpensive and without any limitations.

 

Investment Direction:  wheat, berries, corn and potatoes.

 

DCFTA with the EU

After the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU, Georgia can produce agricultural products to meet the required safety and security standards which would then able them to enter the EU market with a zero custom tariff. Additionally, Georgia has an agreement with China, Turkey and the former Soviet countries about tariff reduction. These contracts simplify product export and expand the market for goods produced in Georgia which, of course, is attractive for investors.

 

In the process of trade with the EU, sector modernization and increasing its efficiency is needed in order for Georgia to meet required standards as well as further enable the entry of foreign companies into the country.

 

Investment Direction:  Bioproduction. Every day, the demand for bio products is increasing both in the EU and on the world market. A wide range of bio products can be produced by Georgian farmers. Relevant legal data about bio production also exists in the country. In 2006, the Parliament adopted the Law  on Biological Agricultural Industry which serves to regulate issues concerning the biological agricultural industry.

 

In Georgia, bio products such as wine, fruit juices, honey, various kinds of fruits (for example, persimmon, which is quite popular in European countries), vegetables, dairy products and others can be produced.

 

State Supports Agriculture

Financing for the agricultural sector has increased sharply since 2012 and the development of this sphere is one of the top priorities for the country. The state implements various large-scale projects to support agriculture and increase agricultural production.

 

In the 2017 state budget, agriculture will be financed by GEL 238 million. Of particular note:  low interest agro credit (GEL 42 million), viticulture development (GEL 32.4 million), food safety and plant protection (GEL 22.7 million), modernization of ameliorative systems (GEL 49 million), support for agricultural cooperative development (GEL 5.3 million), implementing agricultural research activities (GEL 6.6 million) and agricultural insurance (GEL 5 million).

 

Of particular note is that Georgia’s agro credit program has financed more than 700 existing and 150 new enterprises at low interest rates since 2013.

 

Additionally, the state is actively engaged in the following directions:  farmer awareness raising and effective agricultural extension services, data collection for market information, information gathering, processing and effective delivering of this information for workers employed in agriculture sector, compiling a farmer register, etc.

 

Investment Direction:  The state actively supports the development of cooperatives and provides certain benefits and preferences for them, especially for multi-functional cooperatives. The cooperatives need to have sufficient financial as well as human resources in order to develop several directions of agricultural production as well as relevant services for farmers.

 

Agrotourism

In 2016, the number of visitors to Georgia exceeded 3 million while revenue from international tourism amounted to USD 2.16 billion. There are extensive opportunities for tourism development in the country with foreign visitors coming to Georgia year round. They can take part in agro tours and be involved in local agricultural activities or participate in the vintage process, harvest time, learning to make traditional Georgian products and spend time in a unique rural environment which is both new and interesting for them.

 

When discussing the issue of agro tourism, a look at the list of existing opportunities shows 102 resorts, 182 lands for resorts 2,400 mineral springs, 12,000 historical and architectural monuments (three are included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list), 11 national parks, 41 natural monuments and two protected landscapes.

 

The Georgian National Tourism Administration offers free training for those who want to start up a business in the agro tourism sphere.

 

Investment Direction:  Village hotels, farms, wine tours, historical monument tours.