Georgian Parliament to host Open Government Partnership’s Legislative Openness Working Group Conference
The OGP LOWG is to be held on September 14-15. The two-day forum “Openness Obligation: the Parliamentary Action Plans, Standards and Tools” aims at consideration of the progress by the WG in terms of legislative openness, including development of Open Parliament action plans and Open Parliamentary Data International norms and standards establishment aspects.
The conference will be attended by the legislative and executive representatives of various countries, civil society leaders, including the high rank Parliamentary Delegations from Georgia, Albania, Armenia, Croatia, Brazil, Latvia, Lithuania, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine, and participated by up to 70 foreign delegates from up to 20 countries.
The bilateral meetings of the guest delegations are scheduled within the conference. The conference is co-organized by the LOWG. The two-day working meeting is being held within GLOW and is the conclusive event. It is the one-week call on to the civil society and the Parliaments to facilitate to the legislative openness.
The conference is supported by the USAID, GIZ, KohoVolit, EU, UNDP, TI, IDFI and US Embassy.
Van Gogh and Pirosmani at the Creatorium: EU4Youth supporting creative entrepreneurs in Georgia
When you browse the Facebook page of the ‘Creatorium’ salon, you will find this little note – “We are creative artists who will paint everything your eye can see!”
Van Gogh and Pirosmani are the Creatorium’s best friends, and blue – the colour of calmness – is their main colour. The creative process is backgrounded by Pink Floyd’s Goodbye Blue Sky, and Vincent van Gogh and Niko Pirosmani provide the conceptual line of their creativity. Their story also fits in a cosmic box.
Intrigued? The Creatorium is an innovative platform for creative business, founded in Gori by Mariam Tsikaridze and Nino Mazmishvili. The young friends have successfully used the knowledge they received at the EU4Youth Entrepreneurial School, and are now trying to expand their business. Turning ideas into reality has already become a business for them.
Entrepreneurial School for modern ideas
With EU support, ‘Art Salon Creatorium’ is engaged in small business activities. After graduating from the EU4Youth Entrepreneurial School course, its founders confidently started to implement their idea on a large scale. And this is the exact goal of the Entrepreneurial School – to support the self-employment of young people, and to help them develop entrepreneurial skills and establish their own place in the business environment. The project serves youth education and employment, and so far, has already helped a number of people in starting their own businesses.
In the last decade, the number of start-ups created for innovative, original ideas has been rapidly growing. Expert knowledge gained at the Entrepreneurial School helps young people to transform their ideas into business projects. As they go through their training, they see practical ways to turn a childhood dream or a hobby into a business opportunity. This is how Mariam and Nino, the two friends from the Entrepreneurial School, turned their idea into a business.
The right time and place...
“This project meets key business management criteria and is well-suited for the field, which has helped us a lot to raise awareness and take effective steps. The Entrepreneurial School taught us a lot and helped us navigate properly in business. At this stage, we only use bank loans, but we never stop looking for funding sources, and the Entrepreneurial School actively supports us in doing so.”
Mariam is a young mother of three, while Nino is from the border village of Ditsi. For a long time, they created handmade items and accessories that were popular only among friends. Today, they can welcome you at their own office and offer a range of creative products, including handmade souvenirs, painted bags, engraved pictures, gift boxes, albums, portraits, paintings on exterior walls and clothes, and clayware.
The Entrepreneurial School has played an important role in Nino’s and Mariam’s lives. The young entrepreneurs are looking to expand and develop their business in the future, and hope to achieve this with further help from the project. They have already used mentor’s services, and have received qualified consultations in relation to organisation of weddings and other celebrations from Ia Saginashvili, head of the ‘Kochinela’ design company.
The story of Nino and Mariam, independent and modern young Georgian women, is one out of many and is an example for others.
“You should never listen to negative assessments, but should pursue your aims. You should do your best. We literally started everything from scratch. The scepticism of those around us did not make us give up on our idea, and everything has turned out even better than we imagined and greater things are still ahead.
“Today at the Creatorium you find a creative and positive environment, and we can help you design your interior with our products, created exclusively for you. We can also help you organise beautiful parties and celebrate important dates. We can turn any of your fantasies into reality. Here we are, united by our aspiration for freedom and love of art. A startup for creative entrepreneurship, Creatorium not only offers creative services, but also conducts art therapy and applied arts classes, where anyone can create art without any age restrictions.”
All they now need is an end to the pandemic, and people’s trust, which they promise to repay by turning special days into unforgettable memories.
On their Facebook page, Creatorium’s posts are full of positivity.
- While Van Gogh is in quarantine, what is there in the cosmic box?
- A photo album with family or personal stories at different stages of life: let your best day be the best.
- If Van Gogh and Pirosmani visited your studio, what would you ask?
- We are creative artists who will paint everything your eye can see. How did you paint so fantastically? How did you paint?
The Entrepreneurial School is part of the EU4Youth project, ‘Enhancing Youth Education, Employment and Participation in Conflict-affected Areas in Georgia and Ukraine’.
The aim of the project is to enhance the means of subsistence of displaced and conflict-affected youth, to support their active participation in public life, and improve their access to education, employment and participation in entrepreneurial activities.
The article has been prepared and published by “Entrepreneur Georgia” in the Georgian language.
New Cabinet Led by Giorgi Gakharia Wins a Vote of Confidence in Parliament
The Government of Georgia led by Giorgi Gakharia wins a unanimous vote of confidence, with 85 votes in favor, in the Parliament.
The Cabinet features one new member, namely Gocha Lortkipanidze who will serve as Justice Minister.
The legislative body also voted in favor of the 2021-2024 Government Program: Toward Building a European State.
Press Service of the Government Administration
Young entrepreneurs bring innovation to rural development
EU and UNDP support business “bootcamps” for rural youth
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have completed the fourth round of business bootcamps designed to help aspiring young entrepreneurs to create and expand rural businesses. Over 60 young people from all over Georgia submitted their applications and, after a virtual brainstorming session, 22 of them were selected to take part in an online bootcamp that took place on 12-13 December.
The EU and UNDP have already organized three similar business bootcamps for rural youth since November 2019, under their wider ENPARD-3 programme for rural development. These sessions are organized in partnership with the Rural Development Agency (RDA) that operates under the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA), and two business-support entities: the social enterprise “Tbilisi Start-up Bureau” and the Batumi Business Incubator.
The initiative was kicked off a year ago to support youth entrepreneurship in rural areas and promote innovative rural businesses outside of agriculture and agri-food. The EU and UNDP continued supporting young entrepreneurs through the pandemic lockdown, exploring online formats for organizing meetups and training sessions.
The first three bootcamps, held in November and December 2019 and October 2020, brought together some 110 young entrepreneurs for a packed schedule of motivational talks and training that guided them through all stages of business modelling – from hatching an idea, identifying a target market, assessing client needs and local opportunities, developing marketing and media plans and defining the resources and partners needed to get the idea off the ground.
At the end of each bootcamp, the best business ideas were selected for future support: 24 winning entrepreneurs have so far started work on new businesses with the potential to create 90 jobs in tourism, manufacturing and other sectors.
“Youth are key drivers of the economic and social transformation of rural areas in Georgia,” said Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia. “By empowering and proactively engaging young entrepreneurs we hope to enable them to unleash their innovative capabilities and realize their business ideas. Creating new economic opportunities and improving livelihoods of rural communities has always been at the center of the EU’s work here in Georgia. It gains particular importance now as we are joining hands to overcome the impact of the pandemic.”
“Youth entrepreneurship holds the promise of new jobs and new livelihoods for Georgia’s rural regions, and can give energetic young people a rewarding local alternative to leaving home,” said UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “Moreover, as Georgia looks ahead beyond the pandemic shock, fresh and innovative business ideas can help drive a robust recovery.”
Georgia remains one of the most business-friendly countries globally, placing seventh out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 rankings. However, the pandemic is expected to reverse the growth trends, pushing the country into a six-percent recession in 2020 and increasing the poverty rate by up to 2.8 percentage points.
Recent research carried out by the EU and UNDP shows that almost half of Georgian companies have experienced a dramatic drop in revenues. But 70 percent of businesses are exploring new opportunities emerging amidst the crisis.
The EU and UNDP are Georgia’s long-term supporters in promoting rural development. EUR 179.5 million in EU assistance has been allocated to Georgia under the ENPARD programme between 2013 and 2022. This support aims to promote rural development policies and create economic opportunities for the rural population outside of agriculture. More information about ENPARD is available at www.enpard.ge
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The EU commits a further €55 million for the development of agriculture and rural areas in Georgia
The fourth phase of the EU’s ENPARD programme will provide extended assistance in the food safety and SPS sector to enhance consumer protection and promote EU exports of Georgian products. The programme will also continue to support rural development to further improve living conditions for a larger proportion of the rural population in Georgia.
TBILISI. December 17, 2020 – The EU Ambassador to Georgia H.E. Carl Hartzell and the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mr. David Zalkaliani today signed an agreement to kick off the fourth phase of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD IV) worth €55 million (approximately GEL 215 million). The Acting Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia Mr. Levan Davitashvili also attended the signature event. The programme aims to enhance consumer protection, promote EU exports and improve livelihoods of rural population in Georgia. It is part of the wider assistance package mobilized by the EU and Team Europe to support Georgia’s COVID-19 recovery.
“We are happy to announce today our continued cooperation with the government of Georgia under the fourth phase of the ENPARD programme. Since 2013, with over GEL 500 million budget, the EU’s ENPARD programme has been providing extensive support to make Georgia’s agriculture more competitive and to improve living standards in rural areas. Looking forward, we would like to see more Georgian farmers, cooperatives and small and medium size enterprises better equipped to produce high quality products and export to the EU. We also support better infrastructure and services, growth of tourism, more effective local public-private partnerships and entrepreneurship in rural areas. This will help create new employment opportunities and will maximize the country’s economic growth,” stated Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.
“ENPARD programme brings concrete results for our country and particularly for our rural population. As a result of this program, the quality of products, the employment opportunities for our citizens and the EU exports are significantly improving. Even more important is the implementation of this programme at in the pandemic context. The financial support provided to Georgia under the fourth phase of ENPARD is part of the wider EU assistance supporting Georgia’s COVID-19 recovery,” stated David Zalkaliani, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
“Georgia is one of the outstanding countries of the Eastern Partnership that has successfully carried out all three phases of ENPARD programme. We believe that the fourth phase will be implemented successfully as well. This is a remarkable volume of assistance, € 55 million, of which € 31 million is going to be the direct budget support. However, a very important and efficient part of the assistance is a € 24 million technical and grant component, which is going to have a complementary effect on the implementation of our policy also developed in close partnership with the EU,” stated Levan Davitashvili, Acting Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.
ENPARD IV will provide extended assistance in the food safety and sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) sector to enhance consumer protection for citizens of Georgia and to promote exports of Georgian products to EU Member States. ENPARD IV will build on the achievements of the Comprehensive Institution Building (CIB) programme and of previous ENPARD phases. It will provide further support to the National Food Agency (NFA) for improved inspection and control systems and for continuation of the legal approximation process including enforcement of newly adopted regulations. It will also support food business operators in their efforts to adapt to the sectoral reforms.
In addition, ENPARD IV will further support rural development and will improve living conditions for a larger proportion of the rural population in Georgia, rendering the rural development sector more dynamic and effectively contributing to Georgia’s economic and social development. The fourth phase of ENPARD will improve the economic and social integration of vulnerable households in disadvantaged rural regions of Georgia, including eco-migrants, conflict affected people, ethnic minorities, Georgian returnees and migrants. The action will continue to enhance civic participation in the regions of Georgia through increased civil society involvement in local decision-making processes and will continue to actively promote and encourage participation of youth and women, noting the specific needs and constraints of these groups.
Press Release of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia
EU launches nine new projects with EUR 7 million budget to support vocational education and labour market development in Georgia
Projects funded under the EU’s ongoing Skills4Jobs programme will assist thousands of Georgians in finding jobs by enhancing high quality vocational education, improving lifelong learning opportunities and supporting entrepreneurship.
At a special event held online under the auspices of Skills Week Georgia, the nine grant projects, funded by the EU’s second phase of the Skills4Jobs programme in Georgia, were introduced. These grants have been allocated to private and public sector and civil society organisations to further enhance employment opportunities, particularly in the regions.
The nine projects, with a total EU contribution of EUR 7 million (approx. GEL 27 million), will focus on ensuring that relevant skills matching services and education opportunities in vocational education, training and entrepreneurship are available throughout Georgia, particularly for youth, women and vulnerable populations. The Skills4Jobs overall programme has three main targets:
- Relevant skills-matching services are accessible in selected regions of Georgia;
- Relevant lifelong learning skills provision are accessible in selected regions with a focus on youth;
- Entrepreneurial learning and training opportunities are accessible in selected regions.
“We are happy to launch the new grant projects as part of the second phase of the EU’s Skills4Jobs 5-year programme in Georgia. In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to support Georgia in its efforts to improve professional skills, enhance entrepreneurship and adapt the labour and employment strategies to the current needs. With the start of these new projects we contribute directly to the improvement of employability of women, men, youth and vulnerable people in Tbilisi and regions of Georgia.”, stated Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Georgia.
“At this time when coronavirus is testing Georgia’s VET system to its limits, and while we are striving to introduce new and innovative approaches in VET governance and practices and increase the attractiveness of vocational education and qualifications, we are being strongly supported as always by the EU, our longest-standing partner in VET. Europe is a source of inspiration and best practice examples in VET, and the EU’s financial and technical support has been invaluable in helping us to modernize our system in line with international standards”, stated Tamar Kitiashvili, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia.
The Skills Week Georgia, an online four-day conference, organized by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia with the support of the EU’s Skills4Jobs Technical Assistance Project, offers a platform to discuss new challenges and solutions for vocational education in the current reality. The conference was opened by Mikheil Chkhenkeli – Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Sigrid Brettel – Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, His Excellency Hubert Knirsch – Ambassador of Germany and Ekaterine Mikabadze – Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development.
Phase 2 of the EU’s Skills4Jobsprogramme was launched in 2018 to improve the employability of women, men, young people and vulnerable people in Tbilisi and regions of Georgia. The programme is implemented through a range of different measures. The total budget of the programme is EUR 48,85 million (approx. GEL 190 million) and includes:
- a EUR 30 million budget support to the Government of Georgia for implementing sector reform,
- two Twinning projects which bring the EU Member States’ civil servants to Georgia to help introduce reforms,
- grant scheme component for EUR 7 million, and
- technical assistance to support the relevant ministries. This component is assisting the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the Youth Agency and other public agencies in updating and improving their sector reform policies.