Up to 1,150 advisory projects with local small and medium-sizes enterprises (SMEs) have been implemented by the Advice for Small Businesses (ASB) team of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) since the launch of the programme in 2003, in Georgia. Around half of the projects were carried out outside the capital city, and about one-fifth of the enterprises were led and/or managed by female entrepreneurs.
The EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses team connects Georgian SMEs with local consultants and international advisers to transform a huge range of businesses from industries such as food and beverages, wholesale and retail distribution, construction and engineering.
SMEs enrolled in the programme benefit from know-how and customised advice that enhance business competitiveness and foster adaption to the new business environments. The programme has a special focus to help SMEs meet new food safety and hygiene standards, while improving the export potential to enable them fully to enjoy the free trade area with the European Union – the world’s largest trading block.
“Access to knowledge and expertise is one of the preconditions for the businesses to be effective and successful not only in Georgia, but around the world. We work with a wide range of enterprises to support their efforts of aligning with European standards, putting efficient systems in place and fostering innovation and competitiveness,” says Severian Gvinepadze, Principal Manager of EBRD SME Finance and Development Group.
Currently, the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses activities in Georgia are supported by the European Union (grant funding) under its EU4Business Initiative, the Early Transition Countries Fund**, Sweden and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.
"Congratulations to our partner EBRD for 15 years of valuable work on small business advice!” said Vincent Rey, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia. “Thanks to the work of the team, we were able to support Georgian SMEs in their ambitions of increasing competiveness, establishing stronger economic ties with the EU, and running truly efficient and modern businesses. The EBRD is a key partner for the European Union’s EU4Business initiative, an umbrella initiative that covers all EU activities supporting SMEs in the Eastern Partnership countries.”
“My company Madam Wine has been supported with advisory services in marketing. With help from a local consultant, I set up a new website through which I was able to attract more clients from abroad and signed a three-year contract to export my product to Azerbaijan – 50,000 bottles annually, ” said Manana Akhvlediani, CEO of Madam Wine.
*Since the start, the programme has been funded by the European Union, the EBRD Early Transition Countries Fund, the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund, Canada, Sweden and the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund.
**Donors to the Early Transition Countries Fund are Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the United Kingdom.