The EU-supported Akhalkalki Local Action Group (LAG) in Georgia recently started a bilingual online campaign to raise awareness among the non-Georgian speaking population about the COVID-19 outbreak. The aim of the campaign is to inform non-Georgian speakers about the current state of emergency and the health protection measures available.
LAG has disseminated over 10 videos in both Georgian and Armenian through social media. In addition, over 15 bilingual posters have been circulated, containing information from the World Health Organization, the National Centre of Disease Control and Prevention, and the Georgian Government.
Locals are systematically informed about the lockdown and self-isolation rules, protocols for going out, healthcare measures and focal contact points.
The campaign is part of the project ‘Promoting a new rural development approach in Akhalkalaki’. It is implemented under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).
You can too! How the EU supports women entrepreneurs in Georgia?
- 1. I want to start my own business, but I’m not sure my idea would work. Who can advise me?
The European Union is very active in supporting the development of new businesses, particularly among women and particularly in the regions of Georgia, often with a focus on rural and disadvantaged areas. So don’t think that you need to be in Tbilisi, to have a higher education or an established business in order to access EU support – on the contrary!
The EU supports a number of programmes and business support facilities that provide know how, practical help, and even funding to help you start your business.
Here are some examples:
If you are looking for support in agriculture, the ENPARD programme provides information, training, advice and financial support all over Georgia, with hundreds of thousands of farmers benefitting since 2013. Visit the programme’s interactive map to find regional initiatives, contacts, information centres and cooperatives near you.
The Mayors for Economic Growth programme supports local authorities in developing economic growth and job creation. Among the dozens of local authorities that have signed up in Georgia, three – Bolnisi, Gori and Tbilisi – are running pioneer projects including support for new entrepreneurs with training and business development facilities, ensuring the equal access of women to development opportunities.
- 2. Business advice is all very well, but you need money to develop your business. How can I get funding when I have no money of my own and no business experience?
A number of grants for agricultural projects are available under the ENPARD programme. Follow the calls section on their website to see the list of grant competitions that are available.
While the local development projects funded under the Mayors for Economic Growth initiative do not provide grants, they will help you to access finance. For example, the SPARK business accelerator set up under the project in Tbilisi offers new businesses assistance in preparing a business plan, and puts you in contact with potential investors and sources of finance.
One EU-funded programme offers loans that are specifically tailored to women: Women in Business can provide finance both to start and develop a business. The programme works with local partners Bank of Georgia and TBC Bank and offers preferential terms for women entrepreneurs to finance new business ideas or expand an existing business. Several other projects under the EU4Business initiative also work with local banks to provide loans for SMEs – from micro-finance to major investment loans.
- 3. I already have a business, but I need help to take it to the next step: is there any EU support available for me?
If you already have a business and you are looking to develop, funding (and training) is available through a number of programmes under the EU4Business initiative, which supports private sector development across Georgia.
Apart from providing loans, Women in Business offers training and subsidised advisory services that are specifically tailored to women-led businesses. The programme also offers a personalised online tool – the Business Lens – to assess your business and see what kind of support you can access.
Some EU4Business programmes also offer finance for much larger businesses, but others such as the DCTA Initiative East offer microfinance loans up to €25,000. The European Fund for South East Europe (EFSE) also provides small loans (average loan size €14,300) to the smallest businesses (less than 10 employees) in sectors such as agriculture, industry, trade and services. Click here for the full list of finance programmes under EU4Business, here for projects offering training and business advice, and here for projects supporting access to markets.
Georgian entrepreneurs also have access to the Enterprise Europe Network, which helps Georgian SMEs find business and technology partners across Europe and beyond.
- 4. I’m not sure I want to start a business, but I want to learn new skills: is there something for me from the EU?
Training and skills are a key priority of EU support in Georgia, and the EU provides considerable funding for Vocational Education and Training (VET). The EU recently launched a 150 million GEL programme supporting vocational education and labour market development. The 5-year programme will help 105,000 Georgians find jobs by expanding high quality vocation education, improving labour policies, and supporting entrepreneurship training.
In terms of direct support, the individual EU4Youth programmes – Say YES: Skills for Jobs, Enhancing Youth Education, Employment and Participation in Conflict-affected Areas in Georgia and Ukraine, Fostering Potential for Greater Employability, and Better Skills for Better Future – have a strong focus on skills for under-35s, especially in less advantaged regions of Georgia, providing training, mentoring and internships to help young people find jobs.
For young women under the age of 30, the EU offers exciting opportunities under its Erasmus + youth programmes. You can join the almost 10,000 young Georgians who have already learned new skills and developed valuable experience by participating in youth projects or volunteering for work abroad under the European Solidarity Corps.
- 5. Are there women like me, who started their own business with EU help?
There are lots!
Nata, Manana, Irina and Dali all received grants under the ENPARD programme. Natalia and Irina come from Tbilisi, Manana from Tsalka, and Dali from Upper Alvani. Natalia grows cucumbers, Irina tomatos, Manana runs a tea processing enterprise, and Dali combines honey production with educational courses. They have all developed their business with the help of EU training and grants.
Irina Gloveliand Tekla Mamageishvili both received advisory support as part of the Women in Business programme. For Tekla, the project helped to plan the activities of her eye clinic more strategically and attract financial resources, while Irina received help to put her engineering company’s financial reporting in order, leading to a 7.5% rise in profits.
Manana Chqareuliworked from home as a seamstress. With the help of loans under the EFSE programme, she was able to upgrade her equipment, lease a proper workspace and hire staff to develop her business. Now her company is on its way to becoming a brand in its own right.
Diana Bakradze and Anna Varamashvili benefitted from skills training and internships under a project for ‘Support of vulnerable youth to become productive citizens through learning, training and employment’, an important step to an independent professional life.
Click here for more success stories from ENPARD, here to find out what the city of Bolnisi is doing under the Mayors for Economic Growth project, and here to learn about five Georgian women who have benefited from EU support across a range of areas.
- 6. Whom can I ask for help?
Visit the ENPARD website to find contact information in all the different regions of Georgia, and check the programme’s interactive map to find regional initiatives, contacts, information centres and cooperatives near you.
If you already have a business and are looking to develop it, check out the training and funding opportunities available under EU4Business in Georgia.
For education and youth opportunities, contact the national Erasmus + office in Georgia.
And don’t forget to follow the EU Delegation to Georgia on Facebook for updates and new opportunities.
Generating project ideas, devising projects and teamwork were the major topics of a recent EU-supported youth summer camp, organised by the Akhalkalaki Local Action Group in the Kakheti region of Georgia.
During the summer camp, participants had the opportunity to raise awareness about the history of the region, visit cultural, historical and recreation sites, and receive information about the academic programmes of local educational institutions. Moreover, the young people learned traditional local crafts, such as the art of patterning and creating Georgian tablecloths and local cuisine.
The camp’s main topics were regional development and tourism, in which Kakheti region has great potential.
The event was held within the framework of the EU-supported project “Promoting a New Rural Development Approach in Akhalkalaki”, which is supported in the framework of European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through the ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in the country.
Last week, representatives of the Georgian government and Kazbegi Local Action Group (LAG) gathered in the town of Stepantsminda to discuss rural development priorities for the region and the way forward.
The main topics of the meeting referred to the state programmes and initiatives designed to promote rural development through the diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, increasing of employment and sustainable use of natural resources.
The event in Stepantsminda was the second in a series of public discussions in the regions. Organised by the country’s Environment Protection and Agriculture Ministry, the event was supported by the EU in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and People in Need (PiN) mission in Georgia.
Kazbegi LAG was established with the support of the EU in the framework of the rural development project implemented by PiN Georgia within the second phase of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). It is one of eight LAGs created with EU support in several municipalities in Georgia.
The five-month Employment Shuttle programme, implemented in the framework of the EU-supported project in the Tetritskaro municipality of Georgia, has presented its first results. Through the programme, eight of the twenty beneficiaries have been employed, while the others are continuing their job search.
The programme was implemented as part of the second phase of the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgia.
When sharing their impressions, the participants mentioned that taking part in the Employment Shuttle was a step forward for them. “The programme helped me to find myself and start a new job,” said Tinatin Donadze, one of the participants. “Besides gaining knowledge and experience, I became more active, self-confident and realised what I want to do in life.”
20 jobseekers from Tetritskaro municipality participated in different activities through the programme, from individual sessions led by the programme mentor to group sessions on CV and cover letter writing, presentation skills, emotion and conflict management, entrepreneurship and community project writing. As a result, the participants developed the necessary skills to increase their employability.
According to the ENPARD press release, there will be five more phases of the Employment Shuttle programme in the Tetritskaro municipality. The call for participants interested in taking part in the second phase is open until 20 April.
Around 30 representatives of regional civil society organisations (CSOs) from Georgia met in the country’s capital Tbilisi on 7 December for an interactive seminar on rural development advocacy. This was the final in a series of training seminars organised through the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). A total of up to 300 CSOs from 10 regions across Georgia took part in this EU-supported training programme.
The programme covered every region of Georgia, aiming to empower civil society organisations to more actively advocate for rural development in their regions, said ENPARD in a press release.
The training participants were introduced to the European models of rural development and became more acquainted with advocacy tools. The programme also focused on the impact of rural development on national policy-making, the role of civil society in this process, and the practical benefits of rural development now and in the future.
The EU is supporting rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 102 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase focuses on creating economic opportunities for the rural population that go beyond agricultural activities.
The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Georgia, Janos Herman, recently paid a series of visits to agricultural and rural development initiatives in the country supported through the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). The ENPARD site visits in Kvareli and Lagodekhi were part of the Ambassador’s two-day official programme in Kakheti to explore EU support to economic opportunities in the region.
The EU Ambassador visited the vineyard and orchards of the ENPARD agricultural cooperative “Saba” in Gavazi village, Kvareli municipality. He also stopped at several rural development initiatives and met with the members of the Local Action Group (LAG) in Lagodekhi municipality.
“Agriculture and rural development has an important role to play in the sustainable development of Georgia,” – said Ambassador Herman. “Nearly half of the country’s population lives in rural areas and is employed in agriculture. Revitalising rural economies and boosting Georgia’s potential in agriculture is therefore vital for increasing welfare and stimulating the country’s economy,” he added.
In addition, the EU ambassador took part in the climate diplomacy week clean-up action with local youth and planted a tree in the EU-supported Lagodekhi Dendrology Park. In a press release, the ENPARD said the visits to EU-funded agricultural and rural development projects in Kakheti offered the Ambassador first-hand information about the successes and challenges of Georgia’s rural community, as well as the results of the EU’s support in this sector.
- See more at: http://www.euneighbours.eu/en/east/stay-informed/news/eu-ambassador-georgia-revitalising-rural-economies-vital-stimulating#sthash.2nasd03x.dpuf
On 30 December 2016, the Government of Georgia approved the first ever national strategy for rural development. It provides the country’s vision for 2017-2020 in key areas of rural development – growth and diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, sustainable use of natural resources and local engagement in the development process.
The adoption of the Rural Development Strategy 2017 – 2020 has sealed a year-long process initiated by the Government of Georgia and supported by the European Union (EU) and two United Nations agencies – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), under the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).
The Strategy represents a new approach to rural development in Georgia grounded on the best EU practices in this field. It focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and civil engagement, and on improving the quality of people’s life while paying special attention to the values of natural and cultural heritage.
ENPARD Programme contributed to the development of the Strategy by offering technical expertise to the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as organizing public consultations, which helped to make the process more inclusive and transparent. The preparation of the Strategy engaged a range of national and international stakeholders, including for civil society and community organizations, national and international experts, relevant ministries and state agencies.
After formal adoption by the Government, an Interagency Coordination Council on rural development will be established. It will be led by the Ministry of Agriculture with technical assistance from the European Union (EU) and UNDP under the ENPARD programme. The Council will coordinate the implementation of the Strategy and will look into specific initiatives in the regions of Georgia.
The EU is supporting rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 102 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase focuses on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities.
More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge
The EU has been supporting Georgia’s agricultural sector through the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). ENPARD I, the first phase, is a € 52 million (≈ GEL 135 million) programme that started in 2013. From 2016, the second phase, ENPARD II, will inject a further € 50 million (≈ GEL 130 million) to widen and deepen the agricultural and rural development measures launched under the first phase.