The third grant competition announced within the frames of the SBDP3 has been completed. It was announced within the frame of Small Business Development Project 3 which is initiated and financed by 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 the microbusinesses.

The competition was announced in the second half of January this year, individual and community informational meetings were conducted with the population of all target villages. It should be noted that the village of Baghlepi (Lanchkhuti municipality) was added to this list as part of its population owns newly registered land plots in 2 km corridor from Baku-Supsa pipeline. 267 applications describing business ideas had been submitted in total as a result of the informational campaign. The applications were reviewed by the selection committee consisting of the project team and invited business development expert. 86 applications moved to the next stage of the selection – business planning training. It should be pointed out that this year the training was delivered in the remote mode due to the state of emergency and related restrictions. The video record was prepared specifically for that purpose which was placed in the Internet and then downloaded by the competitors. Despite the unusual format all they were able to study the materials, independently develop and send their business plans by email. The project team, of course, extensively consulted the beneficiaries on different aspects of their business ideas. At the end of April 83 business plans were submitted in total 69 out of which were for business start and 17 for extension.

The business plans were reviewed by the selection committee in remote mode as well. In late May, after lifting of the state of emergency the project staff visited the competitors on-site and interviewed them in connection with their business plans. As a result, 41 people moved to the final stage of selection, the presentation. Unlike previous years the presentation this year was held remotely through phone calls. Finally, 36 projects had been selected for funding (32 beginning and 4 existing micro entrepreneurs). They would be funded in two flows, twenty people in summer and sixteen people in January 2021.

The grant contracts were signed with the winning contestants for which they had previously submitted necessary documentation. Seventeen microentrepreneurs were funded in June and two in July, they received 43400 GEL from the project in total. One beneficiary will be funded in September at his own request. All funded microbusinesses completed their purchases by the end of July. As in previous years the mandatory obligation was beneficiary’s co-finance equaled to at least 30% of the total investment budget in case of startup and 40% in case of the existing business.

In all 13 microentrepreneurs out of selected 36 (or 36% of the total number) are related to agricultural production and 23 (64% of the total) are related to non-agricultural production and service provision. The largest number of the supported agricultural businesses accounts for greenhouse production and apiaries, among the non-agricultural ones – on agro services, furniture shops and beauty salons. Women constitute 28% of the supported microbusinesses and youth under the age of 35 also 28% of the total number. It should be noted that nine people will establish businesses that are without equal in their communities.

“I did not think that I could win the grant contest, Small Business Development Project commenced in our village this year. The people were quite skeptical towards it initially but when they realized that two projects had been funded there, many of them developed interest and wish to participate in the project,” says Besik Moqia from village of Baghlepi. “I’ve been wanting to open a furniture shop; I know woodcraft quite well but there always was a problem with saving money to buy necessary equipment. Now I will establish a furniture shop and I am sure that I will have a lot of customers both in the village and outside. I want to say many thanks to your organization and bp.”

Nino Tavdgridze from village of Amaghleba (Vani municipality) says: “There had been a long-standing need for establishing a beauty salon in the village and I wanted to open it especially since I have professional background and experience. Last year I participated in the grant contest but failed to win as could not determine with a choice of a business site. This year I pushed the matter through and already completed renovation of the premises. So due to your project Amaghleba residents will no longer have to go to Vani for a haircut or hair dressing and will always have the possibility to look more beautiful. I’d like to say thanks very much to bp and CTC as without your support I could not open the salon.”