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Ms. Nino Chikovani, President of GCCI, opened the event, which featured introductory remarks and presentation by Mr. George Kobulia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and introductory remarks by Mr. Vincent Rey, Head of Cooperation Section at the Delegation of the European Commission to Georgia. Mr. Knut Berger, Manager of a joint project of GCCI and Academy of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria (IHK) spoke about the goals and objectives of the project.
Entrepreneurs from western regions of Georgia had an opportunity to meet with Minister Kobulia, share with him existing challenges and topical issues affecting entrepreneurs in the regions. They also heard about the plans of the government with regard to business. The format included presentations and discussions about implementation of the EU-Georgia agreement on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and the challenges in this process. Participants were informed about the existing programs and facilities that support SMEs in adapting to the DCFTA requirements and prepare them for export to the EU market. GCCI representatives shared information about DCFTA Information Centre consultation and training services, as well as, TVET services that the GCCI Imereti Regional Office offers.
“We are delighted to host you in this renovated premises. It is our desire that this office turns into a place where entrepreneurs from western Georgia meet. Thanks to the support and efforts of our international partners, all means are in place for the SMEs to receive most needed consultation services, attend trainings and be provided with the space for business meetings. These renovated premises will play a great role in terms of providing a venue for raising awareness in regions about the government services and the services provided in the area of on-the-job training.” – said Nino Chikovani, President of GCCI.
“Support to regional SMEs is among the priorities of the Ministry’s action plan. It is our aim that entrepreneurs in the regions have best of information and access to the benefits created by the government in terms of providing incentives to business, increasing the volumes and quality of local production, exploring new export markets and establishing free trade agreements with the various countries. In addition, we believe that it is important to help local businesses with respect to staff trainings, improvement of professional qualifications – to this end, we have already announced a large-scale retraining programme, which will take place on the base of vocational institutions, at first stage. In this light, a meeting like this we have today in Kutaisi, helps us immensely as we engage in mutually beneficial communication, exchange information and ensure that private sector is involved in economic process at the highest degree.” – sad Minister George Kobulia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.
The forum provided a good setting to reach out local business representatives on the existing support projects and facilities that are offered by the EU to SMEs across Georgia’s regions to help them adapt to the DCFTA requirements and develop export capacities.
"With the brand-new facilities, the GCCI regional office and its DCFTA Information Centre are well equipped to perform their role as vibrant knowledge hub and business resource. I wish the team all success! I hope that even more companies will be able to profit from tailor-made support and take advantage of the opportunities for trade and business links between Georgia and the European Union." Mr. Vincent Rey, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Commission to Georgia.
Event was organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, the EU-GIZ project “SME Development and DCFTA in Georgia” and the Academy of Munich/Upper Bavaria Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK).
As for the renovated space of the GCCI Imereti Regional Office, the renovation works were co-funded by the EU and German government via projects implemented by GIZ and Academy of IHK, respectively. It is envisioned that the space will turn into a business centre for entrepreneurs in western Georgia. It will provide them with the venues to connect, attend business forums and hold other meetings. They will be also able to receive professional consultations on the issues of their utmost interest.
At the local office of the DCFTA Information Centre, which was also established with support from GIZ, funded by the European Union, entrepreneurs will be consulted on the opportunities provided by a free trade agreement with the EU. To this date, 4,400 SMEs benefited from the services provided by the Centre’s local offices in Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Batumi and Gori via consultations, field meetings, and trainings.
Tamar Demetrashvili, GCCI
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