Photo source: UNDP

Forty local entrepreneurs joined a three-day business bootcamp in Chakvi on 22-24 November, designed to show how to start and grow a rural business enterprise, generate creative ideas and find realistic ways for their implementation. This condensed business exercise was supported by the European Union (EU), under the EU-funded ENPARD programme, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic.

In an effort to promote innovative rural businesses outside of agriculture and agro-food, the bootcamp was jam-packed with inspirational talks, training and ideation sessions, business modelling and prototyping. The exercise guided its participants through all stages of business modelling – from developing an idea to making it more concrete by identifying target clientele, assessing market needs and local opportunities, developing marketing and media plans and defining the resources and partners required to get the idea going.

A team of speakers and mentors invited to lead the bootcamp included successful business owners and public relations and marketing managers of the prominent companies. They reviewed business ideas proposed by the bootcamp participants and informed them about the modern trends in different sectors of economy.

All business ideas were assessed using a Business Model Canvas, an effective visual tool for developing new businesses through describing their product's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances, and assisting the companies in aligning their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs. The Business Model Canvas was recently adopted as a tool of choice by the Agriculture and Rural Development Agency (ARDA) under the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA).

The thirteen winning ideas were selected on the last day of the bootcamp when its participants presented the results of their three-day work to the jury. The Batumi Business Incubator, established back in 2009 with UNDP support, will assist the winning entrepreneurs in developing high quality business plans that will give them a chance to receive start-up support from the EU-funded and UNDP-led rural development programme.

The bootcamp in Ajara is one of the first attempt in Georgia to promote non-farming rural entrepreneurship through intense and innovative business coaching. Based on its results, the idea will be expanded to the country’s other rural regions.

EU and UNDP are Georgia’s long-term supporters in promoting rural development.  EUR 179.5 million in EU assistance has been allocated to Georgia under the ENPARD programme between 2013 and 2022. This support aims to promote rural development policies and create economic opportunities for the rural population outside of agriculture. More information about ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge    

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