Posted: 4 years ago

Business Bootcamps Promote Innovative Rural Entrepreneurship

Forty local entrepreneurs joined a three-day business bootcamp in Chakvi on 22-24 November, designed to show how to start, run and grow a rural business enterprise, generate creative ideas and find the realistic ways of their implementation.
This condensed business exercise was supported by the European Union (EU), under the EU-funded ENPARD programme, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic. 
In an effort to promote innovative rural businesses outside of agriculture and agro-food, the bootcamp was jam-packed with inspirational talks, training and ideation sessions, business modelling and prototyping. The exercise guided its participants through all stages of business planning – from developing an idea to making it more concrete by identifying target audiences and clientele, assessing market needs and local opportunities, designing innovative commercial products and services, and developing marketing and media plans.
A team of speakers and mentors invited to lead the bootcamp included successful business owners and public relations and marketing managers of the prominent companies. They reviewed business ideas proposed by the bootcamp participants and informed them about the modern trends in tourism and hospitality industries. 
All business ideas were assessed using a Business Model Canvas, an effective visual tool for developing new businesses through describing their product’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances, and assisting the companies in aligning their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs.
Business Model Canvas was recently adopted as a tool of choice by the Agriculture and Rural Development Agency (ARDA) under the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA). 
The thirteen winning ideas were revealed on the last day of the bootcamp when its participants presented the results of their three-day work to the jury. The winning entrepreneurs will submit their proposals to ARDA to receive the start-up grants from the EU-funded and UNDP-led rural development programme.
The bootcamp in Ajara is the first attempt in Georgia to promote non-farming rural entrepreneurship through the intense and innovative business training. Based on its results, the idea will be expanded to the country’s other rural regions.