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State Sector and Businessmen Hold Round Table under Develop Business Project

The Association of Young Financiers and Businessmen (AYFB) has organized a meeting with state officials and representatives of the small business sector as part of the Develop Business project. The meeting was held in the format of a round table. Representatives of the Economy Ministry Entrepreneurship Development Agency and Projects Management Agency of the Agriculture Ministry held presentations. Later, the small business sector representatives expressed their considerations and approaches.
Irina Mezurnishvili, an advisor for the Entrepreneurship Development Agency, introduced the Produce in Georgia project and outlined the project priorities and achieved results. She basically covered industrial directions.
“By the Georgian Government’s initiative we have been developing the Produce in Georgia state program with the aim to promote entrepreneurship in Georgia, create new job places and increase the exports potential. The program is coordinated by the Georgian Ministry for Economy and Sustainable Development through the inferior units: Entrepreneurship Development Agency, National Agency for State Property and Georgian Agency for Innovations and Technology. The project promotes: accessibility to finances, attainability to real estate and technical assistance. In the first case, we finance interest rates of bank credits taken for implementing the selected projects. In the second case, we promote enterprisers by handing over necessary real estate for doing business at symbolic prices. In the third case, we provide free of charge trainings for enterprisers”, Irina Mezurnishvili said.
As to the small grants program of the Entrepreneurship Development Agency, Nino Skhirtladze, a head for the international relations direction of the agency, said: “The government has allocated 20 million GEL to promote service-oriented businesses in regions. The project calls for financings business ideas by 5 000 GEL on condition of a 1000 GEL co-participation. It should be stressed a cash co-participation is a mandatory request. Besides financial support, the project also provides a retraining program. It is important entrepreneurs that may fail to obtain grants will also pass retraining courses in marketing and developing business plans. As a result, they will acquire due skills and knowledge to obtain grants in other similar projects the government is expected to announce in the future. The project has been inaugurated in the regions of Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli. As to other regions, the project implementing organizations will be soon exposed and I believe all regions will have joined the project in May “, Nino Skhirtladze said.
Irakli Moistsrafisvhili, a manager for agro credits projects, have talked about the Agriculture Ministry projects. He explained to the attending businessmen that they are able to take part in the following projects of the Agriculture Ministry: Interest-free Property Installment Scheme for Small Farmers, Preferential AgroCredits for Floating Capital, Preferential AgroCredits for Fixed Assets, Preferential Agro Leasing, Preferential AgroCredits for Granted Enterprises, Produce in Georgia state program, Agro Insurance and Plant the Future. The bank sector has issued over 800 million GEL loans after the inauguration of agro projects.
At the meeting, the participant enterprisers put forward a characteristic problem. Namely, the state sector is trying to increase an access to finances by promoting bank credits, while a major part of the enterprisers fail to meet the bank requirements. As a result, their involvement in the state projects is minimized. Heavier situation is recorded for enterprisers with negative credit histories. This category is unable to join the state programs.
Banking expert Lia Eliava proposed an initiative for resolving this problem:
“I believe the Government should tighter cooperate with the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). The central bank is able to issue recommendations to commercial banks to revise standards and requirements for issuing credits to the enterprisers”, Lia Eliava said.
The Develop Business is a joint project of AYFB and Beeline company. Beeline has joined the project as part of the parent Vimpelcom’s social campaign of MAKE YOUR MARK. The project makes focus on identifying small and micro business problems and growing awareness of target audience on state programs. As part of the project, AYFB actively cooperates with Agriculture and Finance Ministries. A total of 6 working meetings have been held with a group of enterprisers that operate in Regions.
AYFB will hold a presentation of transient results in the near future.