EU Ambassador to Georgia

EU Ambassador to Georgia Visits a Road Construction Plant Funded under the EU4Business-EBRD Line of Credit

On June 20th EU ambassador to Georgia visited a road construction company “Indico” funded under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line. LTD Indico was funded in 1996 in west Georgian small city of Senaki, and currently is one of the 37,000 enterprises in Georgia that has benefited from European Union’s EU4Business initiative. Just a little more than two years ago, LTD Indico took the loan under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line and purchased sand and gravel processing machines, two excavators, four trucks and a portable compressor. Through these investments, the company has been able to boost its productivity replacing old technology with environmentally friendly updates and enhancing quality, as well as improving standards of health and safety, in line with recommendations with project consultants.  Today, LTD Indico is a leading road construction company in Georgia, fully compliant with road construction EU directives. As a beneficiary of the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line Indico received free-of-charge technical assistance and, after successful verification of the project, received 15% of the loan amount as a grant cashback funded by the EU4Business.

The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is part of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement which was signed between Georgia and European Union in 2014. The agreement included the establishment of a free trade area between Georgia and EU, the world’s largest trading block, offering Georgian firms stable and preferential access to a market of 500 million consumers. In this context, the EBRD and EU have joined forces to help small and medium-sized enterprises make the most of their European Union ambitions. The joined force is the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line – best in class financial support programmed designed especially for Georgian SMEs, offering grant support and free of charge technical support to its beneficiaries.

LTD Indico as one of the beneficiaries of the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is an excellent example how small and medium-sized enterprises in Georgia can operate in compliance with the EU standards, create jobs and improve the quality of the product and increase their income.

“With modern equipment and European standards in-house, we hope to be tasked with the construction of highways and roads for better connectivity, and to play our modest part in boosting trade and prosperity for the good of our country,” concludes Ioseb Gadelia, found of road construction company Indico.  

The EBRD and the EU help boost competitiveness of bay leaf producer in Georgia

The EBRD and the EU help boost competitiveness of bay leaf producer in Georgia

Humble beginnings

It all started with a humble idea and a little experience as a supplier of raw materials to one of the fruit and herbs producers in the Guria-Adjara regions of Georgia. When Giorgi Melua registered as an individual entrepreneur back in 2017, he never imagined that his business would grow to the scale his current company “Black Sea Laurus” now has. “The region of Guria-Adjara where “Black Sea Laurus” is operating, is full of bay leaves. Local farmers are producing the bay leaves and selling the harvest to the big producers. So, the idea of trying this myself was born” says Giorgi Melua, the founder of Black Sea Laurus.

Typical for the majority of start up and SME companies, finding funds was the main obstacle to business expansion and development. Since the eligible bank loan and his own finances were not enough to finance the business idea, Giorgi Melua applied for the “Young Entrepreneurs” programme funded under APMA and won the competition. With the combined resources of the bank loan, his own finances and the support provided by APMA, Giorgi Melua was able to build a bay leaf production factory. In the first year the factory only produced 80MT of the leaves, but production almost tripled in the second year.

Bay leaves are rich sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. They also contain enzymes that help breakdown proteins, digest food faster and calm the indigestion – it is no wonder the demand for highest quality bay leaves produced in Georgia skyrocketed. In order to satisfy the increasing demand for the product and to meet the export requirements, Giorgi Melua was once again faced the need to expand the business and find the funds for this expansion. For the new expansion a new business idea created where production starts with growers who share the belief in sustainable agriculture and social responsibility. “Only by combining these two principles we would be able to obtain consistently high quality raw materials suitable for export and, at the same time, create safe and prosperous conditions for our community.” Says Giorgi Melua. This time the funds for the project were sourced through the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line.

Discovering a window of opportunity

The EU4Business-EBRD Credit line the most advantageous SME financing programme available on the Georgian market. Eligible SMEs can apply for loan funding via partner banks. In addition to the loan, SMEs receive free-of-charge technical assistance as well as a EU-funded grant of up to 15% of the loan amount, which is paid after successfully completing the project verification process.

When looking for a loan to finances the business expansion, one of the partner banks offered Giorgi Melua the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line. “The first year of operation showed us that production capacity could not satisfy the growing demand – we needed a larger production space and more modern production equipment. The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line was just right for us. With the free-of-charge technical support we managed to get advice on the HACCP practises, compliance with EU practices and best-in-class equipment available for bay leaf production. The 15% cash-back grant gave us the opportunity to reinvest this sum into further expansion.” Says Giorgi Melua.

After the completion of the investment project, “Black Sea Laurus” has a world-class production space, employing 15 highly skilled permanent workers and 130 seasonal workers. The equipment upgrade, which has brought the production facility into full compliance with the relevant EU standards, increased the production capacity to at least 400MT superior quality dried leaves.

Currently, bay leaves produced by “Black Sea Laurus” are recognized in many countries for their consistent quality, remarkable flavour and intense aroma. Highly sought after as an essential ingredient in a wide variety of products, they perform equally well in processed foods, medical supplements, cosmetics and aromatherapy supplies. “Grown in plantations along the environmentally pristine Black Sea coast of western Georgia, our bay leaves are 100% natural and completely free of chemicals and additives. They are carefully collected, sorted, and packed by expertly trained teams of farmers, agricultural specialists and technicians.” says Giorgi Melua, proudly. 

Georgia’s Abundant Climates Create a Delicious Horticultural Rhapsody

Georgia’s Abundant Climates Create a Delicious Horticultural Rhapsody

EBRD and EU enhance access to finance for SMEs in Georgia

Nothing is more delicious than aromatic fruit that delight your taste buds with memories of rich soils and days full of sunshine.  Georgia’s unique geography, with a subtropical climate in the West and a European climate in the East, provides the ideal conditions for growing such fruits and vegetables. This variety of climate conditions combined with fertile soil enables the Georgian company Aroma Product LTD to use each square meter of its plantation for growing root, leaf and berry that burst with taste, freshness and goodness without tarnishing products with any chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

The story of founding of Aroma Products LTD takes us back to the times of the heady ‘90s in a post-Soviet Georgia where the entrepreneurial spirit had just begun to take root in a burgeoning private sector.  Developing a company concept that is based on the preservation of nature’s abundance without any additives required courage and patience.  But the adventure that Aroma Products embarked on paid off. After a few decades of dedication to quality and love for the gifts of nature, the final products still reflect an ideology of purity, and allow customers to celebrate the organic taste of fruits – just like that.

Currently, Aroma Product operates 300 hectares of organic farm, certified by ECOCERT. Crop rotation and diversified planting strategies limit the company’s exposure to crop failures and meet changing consumer preferences. The portfolio of finished products includes a wide variety of high-quality fruit and berry juices and jams. That means the quality focus does not end with the cultivation of merry berries that delight the company’s customers abroad.  Meeting the quality standards of its European customers means extending same diligence to processing equipment. To further increase its export potential to Europe, the company recently invested in the upgrade of its processing equipment.

 “When we decided to further expend exports of our products to international markets, we had to purchase modern equipment, so we decided to invest in machinery and our company’s development,” says Lado Gugushvili, company Director.

As the company expects annual harvests of 40,000 metric tons of fruit and berries on their plantations in the next 4 years, complemented by fruit and berries collects in the wild mountain regions of the Caucasus, Lado Gugushvili continues:  … it is essential to have modern production lines and storage facilities to keep the collected harvest fresh and to avoid spoilage and losses. Technology is developing fast and changes the ways we operate, and the food and beverage industry is no exception. It is essential to constantly offer the highest-quality, modern standards and innovative solutions.”

The new production line of LTD Aroma Product was financed with a loan from the EU4Business-EBRD Credit line and the company received a grant financed by the EU4Business initiative, provided by the European Union. One year has gone by since the new equipment arrived and was installed.  The company’s results pay tribute to the Director’s words as the market share and sales of the company have increased significantly.

The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is available to companies in three countries to enable access to finance, new technologies, new markets. Eligible SMEs can apply for loan funding via partner banks in these countries. They also receive technical assistance and, upon successful completion of their investment plans, grant incentives, both funded by the EU.

The programme directly benefits companies and consumers in several ways: business owners can meet their aspirations to run modern, well-equipped enterprises. Employees can learn much from working with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, master new skills and enhance their competitive skills while also enjoying a safe working environment. Consumers locally and abroad have access to products of the highest quality.

The Bank of Georgia hosts an information event for clients presenting the opportunities afforded by loans and grants provided by the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line

On 28th September 2016, the Bank of Georgia hosted an information event for clients to present the opportunities afforded by loans and grants provided by the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line.

In total 150 people from a broad spectrum of commercial and industrial companies attended the Information hosted by the Bank of Georgia at the Rooms Hotel on 28th September 2016.

Mrs Tamar Khizanishvili (Head of Corporative banking of the Bank of Georgia) welcomed guests in the opening speech and explained the importance of AA and DCFTA for Georgia. She also outlined how the EU4 Business-EBRD Credit Line helps companies, through loans and grants, to invest in processes and equipment to align with relevant EU directives, whilst at the same time is very develop their capacity and ain advantages in their national markets.

Mrs Mariam Gabunia, representative from the Ministry of Economics, presented comprehensive information on EU requirement in various sectors, including agriculture and food industry.

Mrs Khatuna Akhalaia, local team leader of the Project Consultants (EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line Project Consultants) described the key components of the project and explained the process of how companies can apply for EU4Business-EBRD Credits and grants. To demonstrate the opportunities for companies more clearly, she also showed case studies form the same credit line in Bosnia.

The relevance of the topic and the great interest of companies were reflected in the vast number of questions raised during the Q&A session following the formal presentations. Participating companies showed immediate interest in understanding the application process to secure the loan investment and the grant. Especially the 15% grant was very attractive for companies.

One company (meat processing) applied for a loan immediately after the event.

EU Ambassador to Georgia

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EBRD President Visits Fashion House Materia – One of the first beneficiaries of EU4Business EBRD Credit Line

As part of his South Caucasus tour EBRD’s President Sir Suma Chakrabarti visited Georgia. The visit included high-level meetings with local authorities and private sector representatives to discuss EBRD’s future engagement in Georgia. The very first stop on the trip was Fashion House Materia, where he was joined by the EU Ambassador Janos Herman for the unveiling ceremony of a project plaque, certifying the support of EBRD and EU4Business to Materia’s investment project.

“Fashion House Materia” was established in 1949 and to this day remains one of the oldest apparel manufacturers and fashion retailers in Georgia. Until very recently the company operated out of leased premises, with outdated facilities that were less suitable for sound manufacturing process and safe working standards.  As one of the first beneficiaries of the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line, the company managed to upgrade their building, modernize their equipment and machinery and introduce the best workplace health and safety practices at their newly built factory.

As part of the visit, project consultants from “Rina Consulting SpA” and “GFA Consulting Group GmbH” presented EBRD President and the EU Ambassador to Georgia with facts and figures about the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line, which Materia has so greatly benefited from. The credit and advisory programme that is designed for supporting SMEs has already financed as many as 47 projects with approximately 25.6 million euros, and additional at least 19 additional projects with an estimated total value of 13.9 million Euros are currently under assessment.

EBRD’s President Sir Suma Chakrabarti commented: “Access to finance is crucial for businesses to become more competitive and to be able to access European markets. The credit line (EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line) allows the local SMEs to have easier access to finance with the help of which they can upgrade their production lines, improve their product quality and have easier export potential to EU markets.”

The presentation was followed by a tour through the factory, hosted by the Director of Fashion House Materia – Lado Giorgadze. From the very beginning, the company’s operating strategy has been based on “in houses” principles, without any outsourcing, allowing the company to fully control the production and quality of its goods. Fashion House Materia prides itself for having everything made in-house and each and every item being carefully crafted in Tbilisi, Georgia. The Director emphasized that the continuation of this ‘made in-house’ strategy is only possibly with modern manufacturing technologies, high production capabilities and a motivated and extremely competent workforce. The loan, the grant and the free-of-charge technical assistance provided by the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line enabled the company to address all three aspects and develop an investment plan that that fully supports the company strategy. Mr. Giorgadze commented: “Apart from the considerable financial benefits in form of the loan and grant combination, the technical support received from the EU4business-EBRD Credit Line engineers was very important.  With the help of their expertise we managed to vastly improve our product quality. The new building and production layout enhanced the health and safety aspects for our employees, which had a great impact on their motivation and our work culture and we are planning to build on this through further team development efforts.  The combined effects will help us to reach the EU markets.”

The visit to Fashion House Materia was concluded by a joint media interview with Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the EBRD and Jonas Herman, the EU Ambassador to Georgia. During the press conference they both stressed the continuous support of EBRD and EU to the development of Georgia.

The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is a joint initiative of EU and EBRD to help Georgian SMEs finance investments, which enable them to seize the opportunities presented by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA).

Through loans provided by EBRD via participating Partner Banks (Bank of Georgia and TBC) and grants and free-of charge technical assistance provided by EU, the joint facility allows Georgian SMEs to gain better access to the EU market for their goods and services and also sets a path for further reforms in trade-related policies, such as hygiene standards for agricultural products and the approximation of regulations for industrial products. This will not only boost access for Georgian goods and services to the EU market but it will also increasing consumer safety in Georgia.

EU Ambassador to Georgia

EU Ambassador to Georgia Visits a Road Construction Plant Funded under the EU4Business-EBRD Line of Credit On June 20th EU ambassador to Georgia visited a

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The Ambassador of the European Union Delegation in Georgia joins traditional Ice Cream factory in celebrating the arrival of new production equipment

On June 16, 2017 a ribbon cutting ceremony took place in the Gurjaani Ice Cream Factory. The event was hosted by Guram Berikashvili – the owner and the managing director of Gurjaani Ice Cream Factory, together with the Head of the European Union Delegation in Georgia, Mr Janos Herman, and the Governor of Kakheti region, Mr Irakli Kadagishvili.

Even though the factory has been operational for many years, the event was initiated as the factory has taken a EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line loan to modernize the production facilities.  As a result of this investment, Gurjaani Ice Cream Factory will be aligned with several EU Directives on production, product quality and also on Health & Safety of workers.

Once the new equipment is fully installed, the company will also receive a grant, provided by the EU.  Apart from the loan and grant, Gurjaani Ice Cream factory also received technical support and advise from a team of international and local engineers.  This technical support is free of charge to the company, as it is paid for by the EU.

Mr. Guram Berikashvili said: “In over 30 years of experience of working in this factory, I have never received such unprecedented level of technical support and advice, as I did from the implementation consultants (D’Appolonia), which was provided by the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line”.

The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is open to all companies registered in Georgian, who wish to align their products and processes with EU Directives and who will subsequently also experience improved product quality and increased production capacity. The programme consists of credits, which are available through local Partner Banks, combined with grants and free-of-charge technical assistance financed by the EU.   Visit www.eu4business-ebrdcreditline.ge for more details or call our project office.

EU Ambassador to Georgia

EU Ambassador to Georgia Visits a Road Construction Plant Funded under the EU4Business-EBRD Line of Credit On June 20th EU ambassador to Georgia visited a

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EBRD, EU and TBC Bank to help Georgian companies grasp new trade opportunities

US$ 100 million equivalent in local currency will finance SME development

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are expanding their joint programme with TBC Bank to support the development of Georgian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by adopting EU standards which will make them more competitive on international markets and thus allow them to benefit from the opportunities offered by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between Georgia and the EU.

The EBRD is extending a loan of US$ 100 million equivalent in the local currency lari to TBC Bank to support the development of local SMEs. This package will be split with an equivalent to local currency of up to US$ 60 million to help businesses converge with EU standards and take advantage of the free trade opportunities with the EU; an additional equivalent of up to US$ 20 million for SME finance to help the development of the private sector; and an equivalent of up to US$ 20 million to support businesses managed or owned by female entrepreneurs.  The funds will be on-lent to private sector clients by TBC Bank.

An EU contribution of €19 million (approx. GEL 50 million) will serve to provide investment grants, technical assistance and training to partner financial institutions and enhance the ability of local banks to accept the risk related to SME lending.

The EU supports private sector development in Georgia through its EU4Business initiative, which helps SMEs to benefit from the DCFTA by improving the business environment, increasing knowledge and skills of businesses and by supporting SMEs to get better access to finance. The EU4Business-EBRD credit line is a joint EBRD-EU initiative to help SMEs finance investments. The two partners work together for private sector development in Eastern Partnership countries, notably with the Small Business Support programme, which has benefited from an EU contribution of €18 million (GEL 48 million), as well as the Women in Business programme with EU contribution of €5 million (GEL 13 million)The EBRD’s finance to support female entrepreneurs is also supported by Sweden and the Early Transition Countries Fund*.

Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, said: “We are pleased to expand our support to small entrepreneurs in Georgia. The DCFTA is an agreement that will shape Georgia’s future. The financing facility, which we launched today, will drive and motivate local businesses to take one step further and become more competitive on regional markets. We would like to express our gratitude to our long standing partner the European Union for the cooperation in areas of critically importance for the development of Georgia.”

Janos Herman, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, said: “SME development is crucial for job creation and economic growth. We are therefore glad to extend cooperation with the TBC Bank, so that more Georgian SMEs can benefit from free trade opportunities with the European Union. Access to finance in local currency is a much-needed step in this direction and EU grant contribution will allow for affordable investments to bring production in line with EU standards. “

“We are happy to be continuing our partnership with the EBRD [and the EU]. Long-term local currency financing is extremely important for the Georgian financial sector and we are proud to be the beneficiaries of such a complex transaction. This credit line will help TBC Bank to strengthen our leading role in the Georgian market,” said Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, TBC Bank CEO.

With its local presence and 25 years of experience in working to develop the private sector in Georgia, the EBRD is in a strong position to successfully promote this new loan. The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Georgia and to date has invested over €3 billion in the country.

*The Early Transition Countries Fund is supported by Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, JapanKoreaLuxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the United Kingdom.

EU Ambassador to Georgia

EU Ambassador to Georgia Visits a Road Construction Plant Funded under the EU4Business-EBRD Line of Credit On June 20th EU ambassador to Georgia visited a

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EBRD and EU provide €1.15 billion to support SMEs in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

At a high-level conference in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, Katarína Mathernová, Deputy Director-
General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, said:
“We are pleased to announce the extension of our successful programme of access to finance supporting
reforms important for the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area to function. The EU4Business-
EBRD Credit line has allowed SMEs in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, agriculture and food
processing, transport, services and health care to improve their products, strengthen their export
potential and adopt EU standards and technical norms. The combination of EBRD finance and EU grants
has proven to be a perfect match to the needs of Georgian companies.”
Through the EU4Business-EBRD Credit line – a joint EBRD-EU programme supported by the
EU4Business initiative and active since September 2016 – over 100 Georgian companies have received
€60 million in financing so far. Concrete projects under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line range from
investments in machinery to complex programmes where companies had the opportunity to draw on free
technical assistance provided by an international team of experts. Half of the projects financed in
Georgia are with companies located in regions outside the capital, Tbilisi.
“We are delighted to see the first real results of our financing supporting Georgian companies. From
hazelnut processing to road construction, from promoting local produce to succeeding in foreign markets
– companies financed by the programme have decided to invest in the European standards, and we are
happy to be part of their success,” said Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for the Caucasus, Moldova and
Belarus.
The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is also available in Moldova and will soon be launched in Ukraine. It
will assist local SMEs in reaping the benefits associated with their countries’ free trade agreements with
the EU, the world’s largest trading block.
The EBRD supports businesses with much-needed finance through local partner banks, which allows
them to invest in efficient and modern equipment and technologies. EU funds complement investments
with technical expertise and provide incentive payments to companies for successful completion.
Access to knowledge and know-how is yet another dimension of the EBRD-EU cooperation, with EU
funding of €18 million, while the EBRD SME Finance and Development Group fosters advisory services
for enhanced performance and growth in all EU Eastern Partnership countries.
The conference in Tbilisi today gathered representatives of the EU, EBRD, International Monetary Fund,
International Finance Corporation, local firms and business associations. It provided an opportunity to
take stock and discuss the future outlook of the programme. Participants agreed that the combination of
EBRD finance through local banks such as TBC Bank or Bank of Georgia and EU grant funds remains an
attractive and crucial proposition for local businesses.s leo.

EU Ambassador to Georgia

EU Ambassador to Georgia Visits a Road Construction Plant Funded under the EU4Business-EBRD Line of Credit On June 20th EU ambassador to Georgia visited a

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EU and EBRD launch the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line

On 21st September 2016, EU and EBRD launched the new EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line in a launch event held at the Tbilisi Technopark. Speakers included Bruno Balvanera EBRD Director for Caucasus, Moldova & Belarus), Dimitry Kumsishvili (Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Economics & Sustainable Development of Georgia), Janos Herman (Ambassador of the EU), Archil Gachecheladze (Deputy CEO of the Bank of Georgia). The launch event was attended by more than 250 representatives from industry, commerce and the financial sector.

 Press Release

EU Ambassador to Georgia

EU Ambassador to Georgia Visits a Road Construction Plant Funded under the EU4Business-EBRD Line of Credit On June 20th EU ambassador to Georgia visited a

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