The FINANCIAL -- The Women Business Council in Georgia (WBCG) is going to open regional representation in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.
Throughout the year 2018 the WBCG plans to arrange a number of trainings and meetings in order to promote recognition of women in Georgia, to bring together women of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow both personally and professionally.
The WBCG is a membership-based non-profit organisation founded in May, 2015. WBCG works with women from diverse communities locally and regionally and delivers a broad range of services that inspire participants to become economically active and personally fulfilled. As of today WBCG unites 370 members, which is a 25% increase over 2017.
“In cooperation with the USAID project Governing for Growth, an invited expert from the United States created a strategy for our organisation together with WBCG management. The strategy includes future activities that are in compliance with our organisation’s main goal –giving access to information to all entrepreneur women in the country,” said Natia Meparishvili, Chairwoman of WBCG.
“This year for the first time a Women Empowerment Week was held in Tbilisi. This event was unprecedented in terms of the number of participants, who also came from the regions to attend the event. Taking into account such a big resonance, we are going to hold a similar event next year as well,” she added.
Q. Could you please tell us more about this programme which the WBCG has been implementing together with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Georgia?
A. The main goal of the Women Empowerment Week is to promote women’s role in government, business and civil society. The experience and feedback gained from the previous years has revealed an increasing trend – more and more women are interested in participating. This trend has spawned a new format, and for the first time, this year, the conference is planned as a weekly event and each day will be dedicated to topics such as: Women’s Role in Economic Growth and Policy Development, Access to Finance, Women and Innovation, and Women’s Role in Technical Professions.
15 women entrepreneurs have been selected for the project who gained practical knowledge and international experience while paying an official visit to the Netherlands. These 15 women are now able to share their knowledge with 15 newcomer women entrepreneurs.
The programme lasts six months and will be completed in October this year.
During these months women attendees will hear the stories of accomplished women who have traversed obstacles to succeed. It is a unique opportunity for participants to learn and be inspired by successful women leaders.
Q. How active is the role of women in business today and what is the contribution of your council in this direction?
A. Mostly women are employed at small and medium-sized companies. We are expecting amendments in this segment that will support strengthening SMEs in Georgia. Many entrepreneurs managed to export their production to the EU within the Association Agreement and part of it is the DCFTA deal signed between Georgia and the EU. Also, there are various types of subsidies in the agricultural business direction.
This is a positive fact for me to see that small companies have managed to export their production to EU markets, for example the new wine brand named Baia’s Wine, which is produced by a 22-year-old female winemaker.
Unfortunately, access to finance is still a problem for women entrepreneurs in Georgia.
Q. Recently there has been a boom of technological start-ups in Georgia. How actively are women involved in this process?
A. Women entrepreneurs are actively involved in this process. However, we should note that the start-ups have a problem with sustainability and their viability is 1-2 years on average.
Q. This year WBCG was the special partner of the most influential and prestigious annual business awards ceremony in Georgia – Golden Brand. How would you assess this partnership?
A. We are proud to be partners of Golden Brand for the second year in a row. Golden Brand is created by a professional team and they know that business needs communication, recognition and a scene.
Each year, the celebration is created thanks to the tireless work of the Golden Brand team and as a result, the best of the best are being revealed. This is a big motivation for the representatives of Georgian business society.