Small Business Development Project 3 is initiated and financed by the BP and its partners in Georgia Pipeline Company. The objective of the project is deepening positive relations between BP and communities along the WREP by promoting of establishment and development of microbusinesses. The third phase of the project started in the end of July 2018; it foresees funding of the businesses who will win the grant competitions, monitoring, advice, various training sessions, meetings with the local government representatives etc.
The first grant competition was conducted in sixty target villages and consisted of two stages: the first stage was review of business ideas and the second – review of detailed business plans. The submission of the business ideas was finished on the 7th of September, 251 applications have been submitted in total. The selection committee considered the applications in accordance with the established criteria and finally 66 applicants proceeded to the business plan phase.
After completion of two-day training 63 participants submitted their business plans for review. The main interest of the applicants was focused on beekeeping, greenhouse production, poultry breeding, bakeries and sewing shops.
The business plan review process consisted of three stages: initial review, site visit and interview with the applicants and presentation. The objective of such a meticulous consideration was not only selection of the best business plans, but also assessment of the applicants’ capacity and motivation. Finally 23 startup microbusinesses and two existing ones were selected for funding. It should be emphasized that the share of the non-agricultural businesses and services was increased quite significantly.
The contracts were concluded with the winning contestants. In the first decade of December 2018 funding of all the beneficiaries was completed; they purchased and delivered the requested capital assets to their business spots. The mandatory obligation was beneficiaries’ co-finance equaled to at least 30% of the total budget for startups and at least 40% for scaleups.
“I did not think that I could win the grant contest, the competition was too high. I want to say a big thanks to BP and CTC since without your help I could hardly buy the expensive sewing machines” – says Maia Merkviladze from Rodinauli village of Zestaponi municipality who established sewing shop through the project funding. Over the years she worked as a sewer and pattern designer in Tbilisi tailor shops and recently decided to return to the village of origin and to establish her own business. At first Maia will start with children’s cloth and had already agreed with several clothing stores in Zestaponi and Tbilisi.
The beneficiaries are fully confident that the project has vital importance for the rural development as it gives a real chance to capable and motivated people to start and develop their business and improve their lives.