With its EU4Business programme, the EU is the largest foreign supporter of Georgia’s private sector, with over 36,000 SMEs supported in 2019 alone.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Georgia are crucial to create jobs and drive economic growth – but they often face obstacles such as limited access to finance, legislative challenges and difficulties entering new markets.
Since 2009 the EU has been supporting SMEs in Georgia through the EU4Business programme. With almost 50 different projects active with a total budget of over EUR 320 million (approx. 1.2 billion GEL), the EU is proud to be the largest foreign supporter of private sector development in Georgia.
These efforts are bringing results – in 2019 alone, over 36,000 SMEs in Georgia were supported, resulting in an estimated 30,000 new jobs and generating an estimated EUR 400 million (over 1.5 billion GEL) of extra income.
EU4Business is one of the key tools of the EU to support the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with many programmes receiving financial top ups and lowering eligibility criteria to assist as many SMEs as possible.
The EU provides funding to key partners such as EIB, EBRD, and KfW, who then work with local partners to support SMEs in Georgia with three types of interventions:
The EU provides financing and guarantees to local financial institutions such as Bank of Georgia, TBC Bank, Pro-Credit Bank, Liberty Bank, Basisbank or Microfinance Organization Crystal to help them provide more affordable financing opportunities, in particular lower interest rated loans, as well as loans based in Lari instead of foreign currencies.
- Business Development Services
EU4Business projects assist SMEs to improve their knowledge and skills, meet DCFTA standards, make business connections and better access European and other markets. This is for example done through the creation of sector specific clusters, business incubator and business support organisations.
- Business Enabling Environment
EU works closely with the government to build capacity and improve SME policies and the regulatory environment by supporting the DCFTA approximation process, which means alignment of national business policies, legislation, rules and regulations with those of the EU. Furthermore, EU4Business empowers Business Support Organisations (BSOs) and encourages public-private dialogue for more inclusive and targeted policy making.
This week, the EU is launching an information campaign to raise awareness about EU support and opportunities for businesses in Georgia. Over the course of the next two weeks, we will bring you the success stories of various small and medium size enterprises that have benefited from EU4Business programme and expanded their businesses, even amidst the pandemic.