Community Development Initiative to Support Small Business Development in
Villages within the Eastern Part of the Pipeline
Since July 2015 the Biological Farming Association “Elkana” has initiated the project “Community Development Initiative to Support Small Business Development for Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP)”.
The project is initiated and financed by the BP and its partners in the Georgia Pipeline Company and is being implemented in the villages along the WREP, also known as the Baku-Supsa pipeline.
The project aims at enhancing and strengthening positive and harmonious relations between the BP and the communities along the Pipeline route through improvement of wellbeing of families and economic growth. In particular, activities scheduled within the project provide for creating for the villages along the Pipeline route an environment contributing to the development of small size agricultural and non-agricultural business. The project intends to implement small business start-up activities in 56 target villages and 4 IDP settlements along the eastern part of the Pipeline, also to promote the development of skills of the children and youngsters living in the IDP settlements and their participation in a summer camp.
o Two grant contests were announced within the frame of the Project; site visits took place and community meetings with the interested population were held. In October 2015, 555 business ideas were presented, while in February 2017 - 759 business ideas from 56 target villages, or 1314 business ideas in total.
o The received business ideas were reviewed by the invited selection commission made up of agriculture, business and economics experts. As a result of the review, 356 persons were selected for participation in the planning training in 2015, and 228 persons in 2017, or 584 persons in total.
o In November 2015 and March-April 2017, training in business administration was arranged and held for 356 and 227 applicants respectively. In total, 583 contestants from 56 target villages underwent training.
o In February 2016 and January 2017, a grant contest for start-ups was announced in IDP settlements. As a result of the commission’s review and monitoring, 9 start-up businesses were selected in 2016, and 5 in 2017.
o In March 2016, a grant contest “Community Development Initiative – Small Business Development Project I” was announced and financed for beneficiaries, which was implemented in 2012-2015 by the Georgian Organization of the Scout Movement (GOSM). The interviewing of the beneficiaries was carried out within the scope of the grant contest. 42 applications were filed for business expansion, As a result of the commission’s review and monitoring, 8 businesses were financed for expansion in total.
o One of the Project activities is the participation of IDP settlement resident teenagers (aged 14-18) in a camp for schoolchildren. In July-August 2015-2017, 90 schoolchildren participated in the camp.
o In 2015-1017, the number of business financed within the frames of the project totalled 186, including 164 start-ups, 8 expansion business and 14 of IDPs.
o Within the frames of the Project, each business representative was trained in the matters of taxation.
o In 2016-2017, 58 vocational (individual and group) trainings were conducted for beneficiaries in such sectors as beekeeping, animal husbandry, rabbit breeding, poultry farming, and combined feed production.
o Also held were specialized training and master classes for entrepreneurs engaged in the services sector: beauty salons, sewing workshops, mills, wood and iron shops, wood- and iron-working shops, pharmacies, etc. Frequently, expert consultations on specific issues and on industrial safety matters, where required, are held on site.
o In 2016, 8 beneficiaries financed as a result of extension were retrained as mentors and thereafter could themselves serve as expert consultants and share experience and skills with novice entrepreneurs.
Project mobilizers continue to work with beneficiaries on a monthly basis, assisting them in the development of business competences and skills.