On November 27, 2018, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and its partner organisations Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) and Association Atinati hosted the discussion on “Challenges and Prospect of Development of SMEs in Georgia”. The meeting was held within the framework of the EU funded project “Engaging Civil Society in the Implementation of EU-Georgia Free Trade Agreement and SME policy”.
The discussion featured presentations of 30 regional studies conducted by local civil society organizations in 5 regions of Georgia. During the meeting, recommendations developed as a result of the public-private dialogue format discussions, held in the target regions were presented. As part of the discussion, sectoral studies prepared within the project were also presented. Some of the issues covered during the sectoral studies include – DCFTA perspectives for Georgian SMEs, competitiveness of Georgian agriculture and ways forward, tourism development perspective in Georgia, and etc. Apart from the representatives of donor organization and implementing agencies, regional civil society organizations, sectoral associations, representatives of the government and diplomatic missions also participated in the meeting.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Dominik Papenheim, Thematic Coordinator of the “Economic Development and Market Opportunities” at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, stated:
“The EU actively supports the development of small and medium businesses in Georgia in various ways. With this project, we reach out to civil society organisations and small enterprise in Georgain regions in order to make use of economic opportunities and overcome difficulties. We aim at facilitating dialogue and cooperation between local business, civil society and government. I very much welcome the sectoral studies which are a product out of this cooperation. They are an important contribution to boost SME development in the regions of Georgia.”
The International Expert, Mr. Christian Gessl, shared the best practices on SME development policies, including from EU countries, and discussed the openings and opportunities for SMEs within the DCFTA. At the event, Project Manager, Ms. Irina Guruli presented the recommendations collected during the 5 regional public-private dialogue format discussions, which were held earlier this year.
About the project
The project “Engaging Civil Society in the Implementation of EU-Georgia Free Trade Agrement and SME policy”, aims at strengthening civil society organizations, in order to increase their role in the policymaking processes, improving their awareness on the issues related to the implementation of DCFTA, engaging them in researching SME needs and involving them in policy dialogue forums. The project is part of the wider EU support to Georgia in implementing the free trade agreement and facilitating Georgia’s integration into the EU market.
Running until May 2019and with the overall budget of 635,414 EUR (the EU contribution amounting to 478,600EUR), within the project, it is planned to carry out a diverse set of activities with the aim to support the DCFTA-related policies and ensure participation of civil society in the process. At least 30 civil society organizations (CSOs) from 5 regions of Georgia (Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Imereti, Kvemo Kartli, Shida Kartli, Kakheti) will be engaged in the project. The project will organize trainings and networking meetings and hold business forums. In addition, information on the DCFTA will be provided to at least 2,000 SME representatives.