Building Better Future
Batumi, Georgia’s oldest maritime city in the region of Ajara, has vast potential for tourism, agriculture and trade. Despite the country’s economic reforms, poverty here remains high, with unemployment reaching 25%, much higher than in the other parts of Georgia.
The Batumi Business Incubator is a part of UNDP’s ongoing effort to boost economic development in the region and assist small and medium businesses throughout the most vulnerable cycle of their development.
The Incubator was established in 2009 with financial support of the governments of Romania, Finland and Ajara Autonomous Republic. It provides services to the emerging small businesses to become stronger and more sustainable.
Each incubated company goes through a rigorous selection process to comply with the requirements of the programme. These include scratching an ambitious but realistic business plan and the motivation to improve, follow recommendations and learn new ways of doing business.
In the first six months only the Incubator accepted six young companies involved in trade, services, tourism and information technology.
“When I first heard of the incubator, I could not believe it was true,” says Jony Sabashvili, a tourist agent and current tenant of the incubator.”But then I checked the information I felt I really wanted to be in. The incubator helped me to set up a company and gave me very good advice on how to run my business.”
Platon Jorbenadze, a talented web designer, is another tenant of the Incubator. One of the biggest textile factories in Ajara is already one of his clients, and this is just a beginning for the young entrepreneur.
“Business development means a lot of new companies. All of them will need websites, and for this they will come to us,” says Platon.
The Business Incubator is not for a lifetime. But it helps start-ups to grow beyond the classroom and become a part of Georgia’s new economy.