Mikheil Khidesheli is considered a large producer of mushrooms in the Gamarjveba village, though to gain the status he had to work hard and learn his craft well. Calling on his motivation and energy he participated in the grants competition announced by “Community Development Initiative” project initiated and funded by bp and co-venturers in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) and South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) companies and won; he now was able to fully rehabilitate part of the building in which he planned to start the business, insulating it with energy efficient materials and purchasing equipment needed to create favorable microclimate with the funds received from the grant.

These achievements did not come easy to him, as before getting involved with the project he experienced some failures. First, he has started producing only on pellets though the microclimate needed for successful production could not be achieved due to poor condition of the building; the second time the loss of heat was so big that he barely managed to reach zero profit margin. The third try was also unsuccessful as the pellets that he purchased turned out to be infected and the mushrooms never grew.

Nevertheless, with the projects help and his diligence, the business started taking up quite well and last year Mikheil participated in the grants competition for scaling up the business which considered production of mycelium to reach the vertical integration of the business, i.e. to own supply chain. The business plan was assessed positively, the experience and knowledge gained through various trainings provided by the project was also taken into consideration and the entrepreneur received funding for scaling up.

Mikheil was now no longer dependent on the untrustworthy suppliers as he fully occupied 500 sq.m of rehabilitated space and is producing and selling mushrooms as well as pellets for 6 months within a single year.

Due to the circumstances created by the emergency state within the COVID19 pandemic, that temporarily restricted movement to Tbilisi, the biggest market for the business, the entrepreneur appeared to be in a challenging position with regards to the realization of the production. Often the product goes through a cycle of two to three resellers before it ends up on the customers’ plate, which in turn increases the price. This made the entrepreneur to consider market expansion and increased the number of customers which will secure his product and retain reasonable prices.