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UNDP grants ESTDEV 519,000 euros to support Georgian SMEs


The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has granted the Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV) 519,000 euros to implement a project to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Georgia.

The project—to be implemented in conjunction with Visionest Institute—aims to boost Georgian SMEs’ competitiveness and product sales in the European Union.

Over the space of three years, a hundred Georgian SMEs will receive training based on business growth support programmes implemented in Estonia and other EU Eastern Neighbourhood countries. The project includes mentoring from Estonian business experts who will conduct a series of practical workshops on marketing and pricing strategies, product design and sustainability, e-commerce and negotiation skills. Training will also include guidance on conducting market research so Georgian SMEs can better adapt to market demands.

Visionest Institute CEO Anu-Mall Naarits said the project will support Georgian entrepreneurs as they start exports to the EU and prepare for trade fairs. It will also support the integration of more experienced Georgian exporters into the value chains of various sectors in Europe. 

"This is a great opportunity to pass on Estonia’s experience developing exports, as Estonia is one of the top exporting countries in Europe," said Naarits, adding that the project pays special attention to developing export knowledge and skills among female business owners and entrepreneurs.

SMEs play an important role in Georgia's economy. They make up more than 99 percent of the total number of operating enterprises and employ more than half of the people living in Georgia.

"UNDP funding recognises Estonian development cooperation in Georgia—our experts, projects and partners who implement these projects together with Georgian companies. Involvement with foreign funding is one of ESTDEV's most important roles, and we are glad that UNDP has found an opportunity to amplify Estonian development cooperation in Georgia," said Margus Gering, ESTDEV's regional head for the EU Eastern Neighbourhood.