Would you say that today there is more certainty for businesses than during the past two years when the pandemic broke out? This was one question we asked
the Director of Enterprise Georgia - Mikheil Khidureli.
"Yes, I think there is. Economic growth is also something very comforting for the investors as well as new programs. You know that we have also had other programs for foreign direct investments. There are other incentives that are being designed right now and we hope that we will have a communication with you for that as well. We just came back from the Czech Republic where we met with IT and BPO companies. One of the companies said that they have almost decided to enter the Georgian market. We see that things are getting back to normal," - Khidureli says.
There have been a number of news and changes to the program that we have wrapped up with Mikheil Khidureli. He told us that from now on, investment funds can also participate in the financing scheme of the agency.
"The news is that we have allowed investment funds to also join the program mainly because investment funds are sometimes formed with foreign currency. This will be an alternative to the banks. As you know, the priority of the government is always to provide as diverse access to finance programs as possible. Now we can see that investment funds will also join. So, from 227th December 2021, this program will already allow us to have different funds in our program as well. We hope that very soon we're going to have the first fund who will be registered in the program," - says the Head of Enterprise Georgia.
The two main programs of Enterprise Georgia have been merged. What does this change for the entrepreneurs?
"We merged our two main programs. One is the industrial program where we provide co-financing of the interest rate. Another one is the credit guarantee scheme where we provide the government collateral for the loans. We have combined these two and now entrepreneurs can get loans, subsidies, and loan guarantees at the same time. Also, the companies coming from the sectors which are export-oriented, in addition to above mentioned, they will get 15 percent cash back. Co-financing, credit guarantee, and cashback, these three things together provide a really good revenue for new entrepreneurs and also the existing enterprises to join the program," - he says.
15 new projects are already in the pipeline looking for support from Enterprise Georgia. Mikheil Khidureli projects that there won't be a problem on the demand side since the supply is there.
"We already have 15 new projects funded by these new programs. 4 of them are export-oriented programs. This means that the private sector, step by step is getting acquainted with this new program. I don't think we're going to have a problem with the demand. Supply is there and we are hoping that demand will also be there," - Mikheil Khidureli says.
The main instrument of resilience and more. This is how Mikhail Khidureli has been seeing the role of Enterprise Georgia during the pandemic to leverage the business risks.
"I think it was not only good for resilience, but it was one of the main instruments for the private sector and also for the banks to use it to leverage the risks that we had during the pandemic period. I think now we are in the process of the post-pandemic period. We see that more and more companies are now using the program to develop the company and not to, let's say, put out the fire. We hope that this is the last serious wave of coronavirus, and we're not going to be dealing with the serious crisis anymore. Now, together with the government of Georgia and the Ministry of Economy (as you know from the statements of the Prime Minister and from the Minister of Economy) we switch to the main agenda of economic development and in the economic development, Enterprise Georgia is definitely one of the frontrunners," - he says.