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Issue no: 1176/193

• AUGUST 13 - 15, 2019



A look at the figures as the Russian flight ban starts to hit



In this week’s issue... Weekly Entrepreneurial News @entrepreneur.ge NEWS PAGE 2

New Pension Plan Update: 42,000 State Workers Withdraw BUSINESS PAGE 3

Georgian Economic Climate (Q3, 2019) BUSINESS PAGE 4

UWE Bristol & ISU Tbilisi Round Up First Entrepreneurship Boot Camps

Georgian Government Predicts Strong Grape Harvest


Bocuse d’Or Audition, National Contest of Georgia 2019: “Supra as a Form of Art” Open for Applicants




s Georgia approaches the mid-point of August, the grape harvest nears. Called rtveli in Georgian, the harvest usually begins in the first days of September, starting from the south eastern tip of the Kakheti region, Georgia’s cradle of wine, and spreading west through the wine-producing regions of Shida Kartli, Racha, and Imereti until late October. The National Wine Agency has already met with the Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture to discuss the upcoming harvest with stakeholders and begin logistical preparations for the 2019 vintage. Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture, Levan Davitash-

Keti Davlianidze’s Abkhazia at Georgian Museum of Fine Arts CULTURE PAGE 11 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by

Markets Asof09ͲAugͲ2019

Image source: National Wine Agency


vili, told winemakers that, as a result of cooperation between the state and the private sector, his ministry anticipates a smooth, successful harvest. “This year we are expecting a pretty good harvest both in qualitative and quantitative terms. All the innovations that will be in the vintage this year are aimed at better accounting for, registering and tracing the grapes, that will contribute to high quality wine production. Working on the quality of Georgian wine is a permanent and irreversible process. Consequently, the ministry will carry out more active work in terms of quality control and monitoring after the vintage is completed,” said Davitashvili. Continued on page 8












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AUGUST 13 - 15, 2019

Georgia Receives $44.3 mln Less from Russian Tourists in July @entrepreneur.ge Gamarjoba! I’m the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgian edition of Entrepreneur magazine and I’m here to share the top weekly Entrepreneurial news with you: The ‘Work from Georgia’ platform is the first ever Georgian virtual platform for digital nomads: individuals who travel and work at the same time. The platform enables Georgian and foreign companies and startups to share their workspace free of charge and so support the development of Georgian tourism. The idea came from the BetterFly advertising agency. Virtual, common workspace www.workfromgeorgia. com is a free platform that any company, from small startup to major corporation, can register on. Travelers from any country will also have an opportunity to book a workspace and stay there. The founders believe that through united forces, this incentive will take Georgian hospitality to a totally new level. www.Tradewithgeorgia.com is a new digital catalog enabling Georgian businesspersons and entrepreneurs to present more information about their products to reach wider audiences. Promotion of the innovative platform is taking place within the framework of the project GEclose2EU, jointly launched by the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) and Enterprise Georgia Agency. The project is aimed at supporting SMEs, increasing their popularity on the European market and creating new opportunities for internationalization. AE Solar, a solar panel producer, was recently launched in the Free Industrial Zone of Kutaisi. A number of countries across three continents, Europe (EU members), the USA and Asia, are to be supplied with solar panels produced in Kutaisi. Sprawled across 16,000 sq.m., the enterprise plans to generate solar panels of 500 MW capacity annually. The production process is supervised by German engineers and technicians. Through the high-quality products and services, AE Solar is among the leaders of the renewable energy industry. Within the scope of the Free Trade Agreement, solar panels will be distributed from Kutaisi to the European market at the first stage. Follow the Entrepreneur Georgia Instagram page to get the latest updates from Georgian Entrepreneurs. For doing business with Georgian Entrepreneurs, write us on business@entrepreneur.ge



ue to the Russian ban on flights with Georgia which kicked off on July 8, the income from Russian tourists was $44.3 million less last month compared to the same period of 2018. “Tourism revenues totaled $375 million in July 2019, $58 million less than a year prior. The income received from Russian citizens alone was about $44 million,” announced Mariam Kvrivishvili, Head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA). The GNTA says Georgia's tourism sector grew in July by 5.8% and amounted to 1,099,474 visitors. The number of direct tourist visits increased by 1% (570,482 tourists). The agency noted there has been an increase in the number of tourists from many countries, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and others. There was also a positive trend from EU countries. It added that the number of Russian visitors in July decreased by 6.4% as a result of the air sanctions. A total of 159,063 border crossings from Russia were reported in the last month. Of these, 50,849 were transit visitors and 108,214 were tourists. “The number of Russian tourists was 14.8% (18,851) less than in the same period of 2018,” the agency said. In the first quarter of 2019, one Russian visitor spent an average of GEL 1135 ($386) on one visit to Georgia. According to these figures, Russian visitors are not among the citizens of the TOP 10 countries, the citizens of which spend more in Georgia.

The estimates of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) are similar to the GNTA calculations. The NBG said that in July 2019, the Georgian economy received $67 million income from Russian tourists. It added that Georgia received $111 million income from Russian tourists last year, which is $44 million less this July. The National Bank calculates tourism revenue based on the types of visitors and how much they spend in the country. “Tourists who arrive by plane usually spend more than others, and as the number of people arriving by plane declines, so does the income. If there was no travel ban, revenues from Russians in July would have been about $130 million,” the NBG said. However, TBC Research has different estimationsandsaysinflowsinJulydropped slightly YoY in the range of -5% to 0%, or from around -$20.0 million to 0 in absolute terms, when expressed in USD.

“Measured in EUR and GEL, the increase stood in the range of -1% to 4% and 11% to 17%, respectively,” the organization says. It also says up to 5% growth of tourism inflows in USD terms over the next 12 months are set to be reasonable, with a 3.4% increase based on the updated information. “This implies around 6% and 9% increase in FY 2019 and 2020. Without the flight ban, the growth would have been around 17% over the next 12 months and 15% and 16% for the FY 2019 and 2020,” said TBC Research. Russian tourists amount to 25% of Georgia’s whole tourism market. TBC Research says despite the travel sanctions, the total number of visitors increased by 4.3% in July while the number of tourists was up by 1.0% over the same period. Non-tourism trips went up by 12.3% and the total number of travelers, including all types of visits of nonresidents, increased by 5.8%.



Photo: GzaPress

New Pension Plan Update: 42,000 State Workers Withdraw BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE


n January 2019, a new law came into force that changed the way Georgia’s pension system operates. The long-awaited change aimed to increase retirement security for Georgians by providing pension payouts that are more in-line with the earnings made in their working years. The new pension scheme takes a percentage of workers’ pre-tax salary, improving financial support for retirees, and further developing the Georgian capital market through a pension fund investment team. In the first phase of the new pension system, which started from January 1, all people working in Georgia under the age of 40, apart from selfemployed people, were automatically enrolled into the new pension scheme. Workers 40 years and older and self-employed people were offered voluntary participation. To combat criticism and backlash over the automatic enrollment component, employees over the age of 40 were given the opportunity to opt out of the program starting in June of this year, receiving the pension contributions made on their behalf for the first half of the year. New data released by the State Pension Agency shows that 148,942 Georgians took advantage of the offer and left the pension scheme in June. Of those, 41,805 (28%) were government officials, and 107,137 (72%) were private sector employees. The initial enrollment figures showed that about 25% of participants worked in the public sector, demonstrating a slightly higher than proportional optout rate for government employees. Nearly 40% (294,852 people) of participants are over the age of 40, and thus eligible to opt-out of the scheme. “A total of 856,005 citizens have joined the pension scheme since January 1, 2019. The pension agency analyzes the engagement and withdrawal indicators…over the past two months, applications for withdrawal have shrunk 10 times,” said the State Pension Agency. On the technical side, the new pension system works as a three-party investment scheme: employees contribute 2% of their pre-tax salary, the employer contributes an amount equal to 2% of the employee’s pre-tax salary, and the Georgian government contributes an amount equal to 2% of the employee’s pre-tax salary. If an employee’s salary is greater than 24,000 GEL ($8,888) per year, the government contributes only 1%, and if an employee’s salary is greater than 60,000 GEL

($22,222) per year, the government does not contribute at all. The self-employed can participate with a 4% personal contribution. When Georgians reach the official state retirement age – 65 for men and 60 for women – they will gain access to their pension funds, distributed in monthly installments. The new pension scheme will not affect the current system, only supplement it, by which every retired Georgian is eligible to receive 200 GEL ($75) a month – a rate which increased by 20 GEL from January 1. In the first quarter of 2019, in the first three months of the program, 747,774 people enrolled in the new accumulative pension system, contributing approximately 175 million GEL ($64.8 mln) to the fund, including interest. In the beginning of June, the Pension Agency announced it had selected the five members of the investment board who will be responsible for determining the investment policy of the Agency over the next five years. These members are responsible for developing an investment policy document to be submitted to the Pension Agency Director for approval, modifying investment policy documents, quarterly monitoring and evaluation of all pension investment activities, assessing the compliance of investment activities with the investment policy document, and selecting specialized depositors and asset management companies. The all-male board members are: Timo Viherkenttä, Executive Officer of the Finnish State Pension Fund, Michael Ridley, adviser to the Finance Minister of Iceland and former Deputy Director of J.P. Morgan's London representation, Davit Tsiklauri, former Chief Financial Officer of the Bank of Georgia, Olivier Russo, Director of the Investment Fund of the Pension Agency of France, and Jean-Frederic Paulsen, an adviser to five successive Ministers of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, including current minister Natia Turnava. The State Pension Agency announced on August 6 that 273 million GEL ($93.3 mln) had been contributed to the fund so far. The pension funds will be invested domestically, doing double-duty – providing better retirement security for Georgians, and helping to further develop the national economy. Currently, participants are only able to select a low-risk portfolio, but after the first five years of the program, participants will be able to select between three types of portfolios to send their investments – low, medium, or high risk. Investment activities are expected to begin in the coming months, once the selected board members are confirmed by the Georgian Parliament.





AUGUST 13 - 15, 2019

Georgian Economic Climate (Q3, 2019) PREPARED BY PMC RESEARCH & IFO INSTITUTE


eorgian Economic Climate is a joint product of PMC Research Center and the ifo Institute for Economic Research. In this bulletin, we discuss Georgia’s economic climate as assessed by Georgian economists. PMC Research Center is a regional partner of the ifo Institute, one of the leading economic research institutes in Europe, specializing in applied economic research, policy advising and other services for governments, businesses, researchers and the public. The ifo Institute publishes the World Economic Survey (WES) on a quarterly basis, accurately presenting the current economic situation and forecasts for industrial, emerging and developing economies. 30 experts are participating in this initiative from Georgia. The survey was conducted in July 2019, assessing July- December 2019 period. In the third quarter of 2019, Georgian economic climate worsened rapidly.

In this period, Georgian economists assessed Georgia’s present economic situation negatively. Moreover, the assessment of the present economic situation in this quarter has deteriorated compared to both the previous quarter (Q2) of 2019 and the same time last year (Q3 of 2018). In the third quarter of 2019, Georgia’s economic situation in the next six months was also assessed negatively by Georgian economists. In this quarter, expectations in six months worsened compared to both the second quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2018. In addition, experts predict Georgia’s main economic indicators. In the third quarter of 2019, the main economic indicators are forecasted as shown below.

THE SEMI-ANNUAL QUESTION In this quarter, Georgian experts were asked whether the supply of bank credit to firms in Georgia is constrained by bank-specific factors (for example, banks’ health or banking regulation). 77% of Georgian economists reported that the supply of bank credit to firms is moderately or strongly constrained by the bank-specific factors.

METHODOLOGY The ECI is based on quarterly expert assessments of the present economic situation as well as expectations for the next six months. The scale ranges from –100 points to +100 points. An

index of –100 means that all experts assess the economic situation as deteriorating (negative), while an index of +100 indicates improvement (positive), and 0 means neutral/no change.

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AUGUST 13 - 15, 2019

UWE Bristol & ISU Tbilisi Round Up First Entrepreneurship Boot Camps

Image source: UWE


he University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and Ilia State University (ISU) have completed the first series of Entrepreneurship Boot Camps at Ilia State University. The program has been developed following a successful collaborative bid by UWE and ISU to the British Council, under the Creative Spark initiative. The program was developed through the Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, based at the UWE Bristol Business School. The sessions focused on the skills needed and challenges faced whilst starting or developing a business and were delivered by Director of the Aldridge Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Professor Gurpreet Jagpal, Senior Lecturer in Business Management Paul

Hinchcliffe, who lived and worked in Georgia for 5 years, and Lecturer in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Lauren Davies. The small group activities were designed to bring together students from different areas of study to highlight the wide range of skills that are needed in business startup and development. The initiative attracted almost 200 students from a range of subject areas across ISU and a number of students used the knowledge gained through the program to enter the British Council’s Creative Spark Big Idea Challenge, a pitching competition aimed at entrepreneurial students from across the seven partner countries involved in the Creative Spark program. A team of students from Ilia State University were successful in the country level final of the com-

petition and will now represent Georgia in the global final which takes place in the UK in September. “We’ve really enjoyed working with ISU’s faculty and students to support the development of enterprise and entrepreneurship,” Jagpal said. “With support from the British Council Creative Spark Partnership we have managed to accelerate the development and growth of an entrepreneurial ecosystem across Ilia State University and beyond and we look forward to this partnership growing.” In addition to support for entrepreneurial students the project provided an opportunity for professional services staff from ISU to visit entrepreneurial incubators across Bristol and London and professional development training for academic and senior leadership staff

on academic entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial teaching and entrepreneurial leadership. The entire project was coordinated by the Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at UWE Bristol and a team of professional services staff at Ilia State University, including Head of the Development Office Ketevan Darakhvelidze and Patent and Licensing Associate Teona Bebia. Bebia said that the partnership had kickstarted students’ confidence, ambition and drive. “After the session, students became more motivated and our courses helped them to make them believe in themselves and not to be afraid of challenges that they will face on the risky entrepreneurial pathway. “The partnership delivered several entrepreneurship-oriented programs that guided our students through the business start-up journey and equipped

them with skills in business planning, ideation and pitching. Moreover, the partnership has had a positive impact on our students and academics that will gradually help to refine and improve our entrepreneurial ecosystem.” Bristol and Tbilisi have been twinned cities since 1988 and this initiative has followed on from the Bristol Business Conference, which was held in Tbilisi in September 2018, coordinated by the Bristol Twinning Association and supported by TBC Bank plc. The conference saw a group of business professionals from Bristol visiting Tbilisi to explore ways of developing business initiatives between the two cities. UWE Bristol and ISU look forward to developing further collaborative initiatives in the future. If you would like more information or to become involved with business plans and ideas please contact aldridgeinstitute@uwe.ac.uk.

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Support the Lelos at Rugby World Cup 2019 with Georgia Travel Holding Japan Tour Guided by Renowned Georgian Photographer Goga Chanadiri

Image source: IPN

Ministry: 2018-2019 Energy Projects to Bring More than $1 bln Investment BY THEA MORRISON


he Ministry of Economy of Georgia says the energy sector remains one of the highest growing and most investment-friendly sectors of the Georgian economy. The ministry reports more than $201 million was invested in the construction of energy facilities in Georgia in 2018 – 2019 and 28 memoranda of understanding have already been signed on the construction of energy facilities in Georgia. In April this year, negotiations were successfully completed on the Namakhvani Hydro Power Plant cascade in Georgia, with a planned investment of $750 million. Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Davit Tvalabeishvili said that such projects are strategically important for Georgia's energy security, its continuous energy supply and reliability. “There is great interest from both international and local investors in the construction of energy facilities in Georgia. First, consumption in the country is increasing by an average of 5% annually as a result of rising commercial and domestic demand. Investors are also interested in the ongoing liberalization of the electricity market, which will create a competitive electricity market,” he said. Tvalabeishvili noted projects launched in Georgia's energy sector in 2018-2019 will bring more than a billion dollars of investment and added that the country needs new energy generation facilities, which will ensure Georgia's uninterrupted energy supply and further economic development of the country. “The projected capacity of 11 hydroelectric plants in operation in 2018 - 2019 is 98 MW, and in the next two years 16 more small and medium hydro plants will be added to the country's energy sector, with installed capacity of 100 MW and estimated investment of $180 million,” he said, going on to emphasize the importance of the Namakhvani HPP cascade in particular, which will be one of the largest energy projects along with Nenskra since Geor-

gia's independence. “The HPP installed capacity will be 433 MW, as a result of which, after completion of construction, electricity generation in Georgia will increase by about 15%,” he said. The Deputy Minister also focused on another major project that is important for the country's energy security: the 230 MW installed thermal power plant in Gardabani, which will be one of the largest power generators in the country once it becomes operational in 2020. Georgia’s National Statistics Office says imports of electricity in the first half of this year amounted to $27 million 553 thousand, which is about $3 million less than last year's figure ($30 million 748 thousand). Despite the decline in electricity imports in terms of money, it is noteworthy that according to the latest data from the Commercial Electricity Operator, electricity imports in June 2019 increased by 28.9%, and by 5.1% in the first half of the year. The electricity was mainly imported from Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan. Last month, Georgian National Energy and Communications Regulatory Commission (GNERC) Head Irina Milorava said that increased electricity import during the last years is a serious challenge because it means the country is dependent on import. Milorava noted that in 2017 and 2018, the electricity import tripled in Georgia compared to 2016. “It is a serious problem for our energy security because we depend on the energy of neighboring countries,” she said, noting that imported electricity amounted to 11% of Georgia’s resources but “the import in winter will definitely be increased, which means that in critical months, January, February and March, the import-dependency will increase to 25-30%.” Earlier last month, Georgia’s Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development stated the country cannot meet increased demand on electricity in the future if new power plants are not built. The ministry said building new HPPs will balance power consumption and generation. To note, there are 93 operational power plants in Georgia with a total installed capacity of 4207.17 MW.

Kibar Khalvashi Plans to Sell Rustavi 2 BY ANA DUMBADZE


ibar Khalvashi, the current owner of 100% shares of Rustavi 2, says he plans to sell the TV Company through a transparent contest. “Almost one month passed since I was returned the TV Company Rustavi 2 as a result of many years of legal disputes," Khalvashi stated. "Of course, from the beginning, I saw that the former CEO of the company, Nika Gvaramia, to whom Rustavi 2 was only an instrument of political struggle, did not manage the company in good faith. Then it turns out he was practically robbing the company. "Today, the former CEO of the channel is openly threatening that he will destroy the company. I am sure that was his interest from the very beginning. "I can state with full responsibility that the broadcasting company Rustavi 2 was in catastrophic conditions for several years under the management of Nika Gvaramia. Its credit debt is approaching GEL 70,000,000, of which only GEL 27,000,000 is owed by the state budget. Rustavi 2 has a debt to

almost everyone," he claimed. "Unfortunately, my finances are not enough to pull the company out of its deep crisis. Therefore, I would like to say openly that I am ready to talk to any interested person who will buy Rustavi 2,and help to get it out of the crisis and become a successful company. "The only one I am not going to talk to is Mikheil Saakashvili, the former informal owner and manager of Rustavi 2. "I decided to sell Rustavi 2 through a transparent competition to those who will pay the highest price. Considering that the company is facing a severe financial crisis, the competition must be completed in a week. At the same time, in order to avoid political or other manipulations, I will speak only to those who prove their intentions, which may be a bank guarantee or a deposit of at least $1,000,000 into a special contest account. "Anyone wishing to respond to my proposal will be obliged to express their position publicly, after which I will be ready to discuss. I hope Rustavi 2 will become a successful company again! Until then, we continue to work to overcome the current problems and solve first-rate issues,” Khalvashi concluded.

Rugby has always been a subject of national pride for Georgians. “Rugby is our game!” is the main motto of Georgian rugby fans when supporting their favorite team. And it has been proved many times already: rugby definitely is a Georgian game. Georgia Travel Holding, a rapidly growing and successful travel company focused on creating maximum comfort for customers, is offeringyet another unique opportunity for rugby fans and travel enthusiasts - an unforgettable tour in Japan to support the Georgian National Rugby Team, the Lelos, at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The tour, to be guided by renowned Georgian photographer Goga Chanadiri, lasts for 10 days (from September 24 to October 6) and represents an excellent opportunity to support your favorite team at the world’s most important rugby championship and, at the same time, visit distinguished tourist attractions of Japan, “Country of the Rising Sun”. The exclusive offers of the Japan tour include: a return flight (Tbilisi-Tokyo-Tbilisi) with Qatar Airways; accommodation in 4-star hotels with breakfast, two tickets to attend games of Georgian Rugby Team (the September 29 Georgia-Uruguay game at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, and the October 3 Georgia-Fiji game at Hanazono Rugby Stadium); lunches in local restaurants; guide service during the tour; excursions in Tokyo, Hakone, Fuji, Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara; entrance tickets to museums; fast train tickets; transfers: airport-hotel-airport, hotel-stadium- hotel, hotel-railway station-hotel and internal transport during excursions; a gala dinner with renowned Georgian sumo wrestler Tochinoshin (Levan Gorgadze); travel insurance and consular services. During the trip, you will discover the unique culture of Japan, the dream destination of many travelers, where modernity merges with strong, centuries-old traditions, and visit the most famous tourist sites of the country. Everything is charming and exciting in Japan, be it culture, architecture, landscape, literature, sports, or humans. The main goal of Georgia Travel Holding is to give unforgettable holidays to travelers, so you are guaranteed perfect service during the whole trip. Regus Georgia, Vazha-Pshavela 71, 0186, Tbilisi Facebook, Linkedin – Georgia Travel Holding Tel: +995 599 041555, +995 599409919 gthsale@gmail.com




AUGUST 13 - 15, 2019

IFC Helps Boost Access to Finance for Smaller Businesses & Women Entrepreneurs in Georgia


FC, a member of the World Bank Group, has announced a long-term local currency loan of 100 million Georgian GEL (about $35 million) to the Bank of Georgia to help boost access to finance for smaller businesses and women entrepreneurs. The investment is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, a pioneering global initiative of IFC and the Goldman Sachs Foundation to expand access to capital for women entrepreneurs. Access to finance is the second most-cited problem for businesses in Georgia, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018. While small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make up the majority of Georgian businesses, they receive only about 20% of bank lending. IFC estimates the total finance gap for SMEs in Georgia at $2.1 billion, with demand from womenowned enterprises accounting for 43% of the gap, according to the 2017 MSME Finance Gap Report. IFC’s investment aims to address this by helping the Bank of Georgia expand its crucial local currency lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with a quarter of the loan earmarked for women-owned businesses. Archil Gachechiladze, Bank of Georgia CEO, said: “Amid further de-dollarization of the Georgian economy, the local currency facility from IFC will further strengthen our position as a leading local currency lender in the Georgian market and enable us to increase lending to the MSME business segment, where we see significant opportunities. The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility is an important tool that will help us boost our support to female-led enterprises.” Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, said: “IFC is working with the Bank of Georgia, our long-standing client, to help expand

access to local currency financing, which is critical for the growth of smaller businesses. Those businesses are the engines of economic growth and women entrepreneurs are especially underserved. We aim to ensure all smaller firms get the access to finance they need to grow, create jobs, and drive economic growth.” The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility was launched by IFC through its Banking on Women program and Goldman Sachs ‘10,000 Women’ in 2014. To date, IFC has invested $1.4 billion and reached 53,000 women entrepreneurs in emerging markets through the Facility. “We are committed to expanding access to finance and business education for women-owned businesses. This partnership allows us to work with an experienced local institution to help more womenowned enterprises grow and close the $2.1 billion finance gap in Georgia,” said Cristina Shapiro, Global Director of Goldman Sachs ‘10,000 Women.’ IFC’s Banking on Women program provides financing and advice to financial institutions to help them acquire and profitably finance women-owned SME and retail customers. The first loan in Georgia under the program was to Bank of Georgia in 2012 and helped the bank increase its lending to women SME owners. To date, women-led and women-held businesses represent about 20% of the bank’s MSME loans portfolio. Bank of Georgia is working to increase this by helping its clients get the advice and training they need to expand. Georgia became an IFC member and shareholder in 1995. Since then, IFC has provided around $1.98 billion in long-term financing, of which nearly $980 million was mobilized from partners, in 61 projects in financial services, agribusiness, manufacturing, and infrastructure. In addition, IFC has supported more than $394 million in trade through its trade finance program, and

implemented a number of advisory projects focused on developing the private sector.

ABOUT IFC IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

ABOUT BANK OF GEORGIA GROUP PLC Bank of Georgia Group PLC ("Bank of Georgia Group" or the "Group" - LSE: BGEO LN) is a UK incorporated holding company, which comprises: a) retail banking and payment services, b) corporate and investment banking and wealth management operations and c) banking operations in Belarus ("BNB"). JSC Bank of Georgia ("Bank of Georgia", "BOG" or the "Bank"), the leading universal bank in Georgia, is the core entity of the Group. The

Group targets to benefit from superior growth of the Georgian economy through both its retail banking and corporate and investment banking services and aims to deliver on its strategy, which is based on at least 20% ROAE and c.15% growth of its loan book. For further information, please visit www. bankofgeorgiagroup.com

ABOUT GOLDMAN SACHS ‘10,000 WOMEN’ Goldman Sachs ‘10,000 Women’ is an initiative to foster economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education and access to capital. The initiative has reached women from 56 countries through a network of 100 academic, nonprofit, and bank partners. In partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Goldman Sachs ‘10,000 Women’ launched the first of its kind global finance facility in 2014 to enable access to capital to more women entrepreneurs. And now, in its tenth year, the ‘10,000 Women’ curriculum is available online through Coursera, creating access to a business education in more corners of the world. For more information on Goldman Sachs’ investment in female entrepreneurs, visit https://www.goldmansachs. com/citizenship/10000women/

Georgian Government Predicts Strong Grape Harvest Continued from page 1 Chairman of the National Wine Agency, Levan Mekhuzla, described the technical details that winemakers need to be aware of this year. He explained the procedural issues of the grape storage facilities provided by the agency, coordinated by a Harvest Headquarters, which generally begins operating around the end of August and aims to promote the organization of the harvest and to ensure accountability and traceability, supporting high quality production. An important change from last year – in 2018, the National Wine Agency registered only Saperavi grapes delivered to wineries, and in 2019 they will register all varieties. “This year, during [the] vintage, Kindzmarauli, Akhasheni, Mukuzani and Kvareli micro-zone grapes will be delivered only on the basis of vineyard cadastral extract...for quality assurance of wine, the quantity of grapes delivered from these micro-zones, like the experience of other wine producing countries, was set at no more than 10 tons per hectare. Grapes over 10 tons and with no cadastral extracts will be considered as varietal wine color materials,” announced the

National Wine Agency. To certify the cadastral extract, grape growers should apply to their municipal governments before September 1. The National Wine Agency has also implemented a new policy of quality control this year. In July, the agency visited 20 alcoholic beverage factories and tested 100 wine samples. All of the samples “complied with the physicochemical characteristics of the wines listed in the laboratory protocol” and were awarded certificates of quality. “Quality control is one of the top priorities of the National Wine Agency. In recent years, work has intensified in this direction, which is a constant irreversible process,” says the agency. Wine continues to be one of Georgia’s key exports. In the first seven months of 2019, wine exports increased by 4% and income from exports increased by 6%. 47.2 million bottles of Georgian wine have been sold to 47 countries so far this year. The biggest increases were in France (143%), the United States (60%), Israel (51%), Lithuania (41%), the United Kingdom (39%), Mongolia (35%), and China (21%). The top five countries that import Georgian wine are Russia, Ukraine, China, Poland, and Kazakhstan.




Borderization a “Myth”, Says Russia BY AMY JONES


ussian Foreign Ministry S p o ke swo m a n M a r i a Zakharova claimed that borderization in Georgia is a ‘myth’ in a news briefing on August 9, eleven years since the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia. “An artificial frenzy over the alleged violations on the South Ossetian-Georgian border is once again being created. A myth is being spread on the shifting of the border by Russians and South Ossetians and their movement inside Georgian territory,” she said. However so-called ‘creeping occupation’ and borderization are everyday realities as the de-facto border is moved further into Georgian territory. “The increased fencing along the administrative boundary lines continued to adversely affect the rights of local residents, including the rights to work, food and an adequate standard of living, owing to the loss of access to their orchards, pasture and farmland,” reads a report by Amnesty International. The borderization of Georgian territory began on August 2, 2009, when Russian troops reportedly shifted the South Ossetian de-facto border approximately 500 meters into the Georgiancontrolled Kveshi village. By the end of 2013, occupational forces had built an estimated 40 kilometers of border, with surveillance cameras and 19 border guard bases. The de-facto border’s construction separated and even swallowed numerous villages such as Ditsi, Divani, and Adzvi. Village residents lost gardens, farmland, cemeteries and their ancestral homes, facing arrest if they crossed the so-called border. Occupational forces

arrest hundreds of Georgians every year for going too close to the border. Prior to Zakharova’s comments, the Georgian Foreign Ministry had reported that occupational forces had continued the borderization process by erecting a border in Gugutiantkari village in Gori Municipality. “Border arrangements are carried out as planned by South Ossetia and are designed to create conditions for the safe and conflict-free life of the population of the two neighboring countries,”

stated Zakharova. “Such measures are primarily aimed at eliminating the many incidents linked with the unintentional violations of the border,” she said. Borderization is concerning as the South Ossetian border runs close to vital Georgian infrastructure. The defactor border is just a few kilometers from the Russian Military Highway, a vital trade road, and from the TbilisiSenaki-Leselidze Highway which connects the East and West of the country. Additionally, the so-called border is

found 1.5 kilometers from the BakuSupsia oil pipeline. Borderization could, therefore, place a section of the pipeline under occupational forces’ control. In the past, Russian authorities have claimed that they are only marking the “true territorial boundaries in line with maps from the Soviet-era.” Zakharova claimed that the border aims to create “comprehensive and predictable conditions” for those living on both sides of the border, whilst blaming Georgian and Western politicians and

media for playing the ‘borderization card.’ However, international communities condemn Russia’s violent encroachment on Georgia’s territory and sovereignty. Following the 2008 conflict, the European Union also sent an unarmed civilian monitoring mission - EUMM - to observe the border situation on the ground. Only Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Syria recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.




AUGUST 13 - 15, 2019

Bocuse d’Or Audition, National Contest of Georgia 2019: “Supra as a Form of Art” Open for Applicants

Image source: Euronews.com, entrepreneur.com



ocuse d’Or is a biennial world chef championship. Named after the chef Paul Bocuse, the two-day event takes place in Lyon, France, at the end of January in the SIRHA International Hotel ‘Catering and Food Trade Exhibition,’ and is one of the world's most prestigious cooking competitions. Once every two years, 24 countries are selected to compete. Each country's team is comprised of one chef and one commis assistant. In 2019, Georgian participants took part in the famous “Bocuse d’Or” festival for the first time, gaining unique international experience. This year’s national culinary contest serves as an audition for the next Bocus d’Or. The competition is officially called: Bocuse d’Or Audition, the National Contest of Georgia 2019: “Supra as a Form of Art”. The winners of this year’s national contest will represent Georgia first in the European and then in the World championship. The event in Georgia is organized by ‘Gastronaut’ and supported by the Gastronomic Association of Georgia, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia and Georgian Culinary Federation. Levan Qoqiashvili the founder and co-owner of

“Gastronaut”, emphasizes that participating in the competition gives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the careers of those in the culinary field, promising useful experience and serious professional growth. The audition contest of “Bocuse d’Or” has its specific demands. The entry rules of the national audition will be similar to the audition of the Bocuse d’Or Europe as possible. Those who wish to participate in the competition must form pairs of a chef and commis assistant. The chef can put forward a candidate for his commis assistant. All candidates must have Georgian citizenship. Chefs must be over 23 and have work experience of a minimum of three years in a restaurant. In turn, assistants must be 18-22 years old and have work experience of minimum 1 year in a restaurant. The winner of the national culinary competition will be sent to Bocuse d’Or Europe 2020. If they succeed there, the team will travel to the main championship in Lyon, Bocuse d’Or 2021. Finalists of the World Championship will get 15,000 Euros as a reward. Additionally the winner will work side by side with the President Chefs of Bocuse d’Or on all five continents for a year. Bocuse d’Or Audition: the National Contest of Georgia 2019: “Supra as a Form of Art” will take place in Tbilisi, on 12-13 October, 2019. Those interested in the competition can see the application form on www.georgiangastronomy.ge.

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Keti Davlianidze’s Abkhazia at Georgian Museum of Fine Arts



he Georgian Museum of Fine Arts is to present an exhibition, Keti Davlianidze's Abkhazia. The Abkhazia-themed exposition with an anti-occupation emphasis is symbolically dedicated to the 11th anniversary of the August 2008 war. The author has personal links (history and home) to Abkhazia. Re-living landscapes and emotions through colors is seen as a way for the artist to return her

share of Abkhazia. Keti Davlianidze's exhibition opened in the museum's temporary exhibit hall on August 7 and will continue until August 14. The audio-video installation, which is part of the exhibition, aims to awaken forgotten emotions, to overcome indifference and apathy, reminding viewers them of long-forgotten, artificially repressed feelings. The video-installation shows the meeting of passers-by and works, reactions to this act, emotions. The purpose of video-art is to stop viewers feeling indifferent and to remember what we do not see, what we mustn’t forget, and that which is, at the same



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time, also an integral part of us. The exhibition features paintings: Bichvinta, Sukhumi Boulevard, Ritsa Lake, Gagripshi, View of Sukhumi, and Gulripshi.

KETI DAVLIANIDZE – OIL PAINTER, GRAPHIC ARTIST, FILM ARTIST Born on August 30, 1976 in Tbilisi, from 1993-1998 she studied at the Department of Easel-Graphic Art at the Tbilisi Art Academy. She also studied at the Karaman Kutateladze studio and in 1998, at Sergo Kobuladze's workshop. In the process of studying the artistic traditions of contemporary Western oil painting, and seeking her own language of expression, Davlianidze’s passion for abstract expressionism is essential. Synthesized with various stylistic elements, the compositions performed by "pouring" and graphic drawing are expressive. Her stylistic diversity indicates the artist's inquisitive nature. The derivation of time, the instability of human beings in the modern world - this is the expression of Davlianidze's oil paintings and graphics. The artist creates her own model of the world with the style of conventional imagery and artistic deformation and with the symbolism of items

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and the graphic techniques of performance. Exhibitions: 2019 - Personal exhibition, Hotel Stamba 2018 - Personal exhibition, Vere Gallery 2016 - Personal exhibition, gallery "Sfumato" 2016 - "Alternate Walls", Checano, Italy 2015 - Tbilisi MediaTek Union 2013 - Gallery "Artarea" 2010 - Tbilisi Auction House 2009 - TBC Bank Exhibition Hall 2007 - Personal exhibition at the US Embassy 2007 - Personal Exhibition, Gallery "Hobby"

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2005 - Personal exhibition, Nikoloz Baratashvili Museum 2004 - Spring Group Exhibition, Gallery "Hobby" 2000 - 80th Anniversary of State Academy of Arts, National of Georgia Museum 1999 - Tbilisi History Museum, Karvasla 1995 - Gallery of Contemporary Art. Keti Davlianidze’s works are preserved at the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts and in private collections in Russia (Moscow), Spain (Barcelona), Germany (Berlin, Dusseldorf), and the US (Washington, New York, Atlanta).


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1176 Business  

August 13 - 15, 2019

Issue #1176 Business  

August 13 - 15, 2019