Grant Program Launched for Developing New Enterprises along the Occupation Line
As part of a joint project by Startup Georgia and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a special grant program was launched for promoting innovative business activities in villages along the line of occupation.
Beneficiaries will receive a grant, financial support, and free consultations. Startup Georgia will provide free everyday consultations for those citizens who want to transform their business ideas into valuable business plans for their participation in these projects, Startup Georgia director Giorgi Lomidze told the BusinessPartner TV program.
USAID will allocate a 500,000 USD grant component as part of a program to fund the Startup Georgia winner projects in 106 villages around the occupation line. Startup Georgia has already started accepting grant applications. As to who and what can participate in the project and what benefits the winners will receive.
Giorgi Lomidze explained that it is very simple to engage in a joint project with USAID, and participants can get huge benefits with 10% financial co-participation, while Startup Georgia will replenish this amount by 90%, and USAID will double their approved investment. “The new direction of our program replenishes our investment package with a USAID grant component. This means that residents of the villages neighboring the occupation line (106 villages under the official list) are able to obtain a financial component as part of Startup Georgia’s innovative program that calls for opening new startup enterprises. USAID enables the winning beneficiaries to double the size of the grant, and this is an excellent start to stimulating new business companies along the line of occupation”, Giorgi Lomidze said. If the idea is that the author obtains a 100,000 GEL financial aid component, USAID will increase this amount to 200,000 GEL, he said.
“If the beneficiary has already launched a business within the last 6 months, or has only business idea and plans to launch activities in this direction and holds up 10% of the project’s total budget, for example 1000 GEL, Startup Georgia will allocate 9,000 GEL in addition; that is, 90% of the project’s total budget of 10,000GEL. The bottom margin of financial support is 15,000 GEL, the upper margin is 100,000 GEL. This means the beneficiary must have 10,000 GEL in the case of 100,000 GEL business plan. Finally, USAID will double the total amount to 200,000 GEL”, Giorgi Lomidze said. According to the Startup Georgia Director, the working process has moved to an active phase, and the agency has started accepting applications.
The investment committee of eight persons will appraise the submitted ideas, and the winning projects will receive a financial component. As for the selection criteria; there are four of them, but preference will be given to innovative projects, he said. “It is very simple to participate in the project. First, we are able to fund any business that is not limited by Georgian legislation. In this case, we will enable participants to count even their fundamentally improved business’ changes as innovative projects.
Commercialization is another criteria, that is, the sales potential of the product, and the team’s quality and efficiency is the third criteria, whether the idea’s originators are ready to transform this idea into a successful business; the social aspect is the fourth component, that is, how the idea stimulates the economy and improves the social environment, like the employment rate. All these components are appraised by an investment committee staffed with 8 persons, including specialists in the field and experts”, Giorgi Lomidze said.
All projects will pass the Startup Georgia selection process. Startup Georgia will also assist applicants in transforming business ideas into business plans, he noted. “We will provide consultations on a daily basis, so beneficiaries can save resources, and we can shape an investment project together”, Giorgi Lomidze said.