EBRD and EU celebrate 10 years of Small Business Support in Georgia

By Loretta Martikian

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The Small Business Support (SBS) team of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) held a special event to mark the tenth anniversary of its work in Georgia. Over 120 representatives of stakeholders such as government institutions, donor agencies, small and medium-sized enterprises, consulting companies and the media attended the reception at the Radisson BLU Iveria Hotel in Tbilisi.

Currently funded by the European Union, the EBRD’s Small Business Support team has carried out more than 750 advisory projects in Georgia over the past decade, helping small businesses to develop strategy, operations, marketing, quality management, energy efficiency and more. Almost 81 per cent of these businesses have seen their turnover increase within a year of the relevant project’s completion, while almost 57 per cent increased their number of employees.

Since 2003, Business Advisory Services (BAS) Georgia, managed by the SBS team, – has received €5.36 million in donor funding from the European Union, the EBRD Early Transition Countries Fund, the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Taipei China. This funding has been matched by €3.1 million in client contributions.

SBS promotes economic development in Georgia by helping small and medium-sized businesses that have high growth potential access business advice and industry expertise. The SBS programme team also works with local consultants in Georgia to improve their skills and know-how, equipping them to deliver higher quality projects and to expand the specialist areas that they cover.

His Excellency Mr. Philip Dimitrov, Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia, Mr. Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, and Mr. Jaap Sprey, Small Business Support Head of Regional Programme addressed the audience during the event to mark this significant anniversary.

The EBRD has been operating in Georgia since 1993. To date the Bank has signed 159 transactions with a net cumulative business volume of €1.8 billion. Nearly 46 per cent of the EBRD’s cumulative commitments are in the financial sector, followed by 33 per cent in the energy sector, 17 per cent in the industry, commerce and agribusiness sectors, and around 4 per cent in the infrastructure sector.

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