The Women Business Council in Georgia is planning to establish an entrepreneurship academy in Georgia to create opportunities for women to hone their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge.
This year the Council also plans to establish ties with women's organizations of Ukraine, Slovakia, and Serbia, and hopefully to organize a joint forum in the future, Chairwoman of WBCG Natia Meparishvili told Golden Brand.
In 2023 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 grow personally and professionally.
WBCG is a membership-based non-profit organization founded in May, 2015. It works with women from diverse communities and delivers a broad range of services that inspire participants to become economically pro-active and personally fulfilled.
In this interview, Meparishvili talked about what challenges businesses face in Georgia and
especially women-led businesses, how the culture of doing business has changed in the country,
and what the WBCG’s contribution to the empowerment of women is.
Q. Please share with us the most memorable moments from the activities of WBCG of 2022.
A. 2022 turned out to be very fruitful for our organization. Together with the Association for Women Entrepreneurs' Development in Azerbaijan (AWEDA) we undertook a one-year project called “Promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment on the Road to Sustainable Development: Enhance and Peer Learning”. Forty entrepreneurs received practical and professional knowledge from business experts and professional trainers. We also held a forum entitled "Women Entrepreneurs in Digital and Eco-Friendly Businesses". Under the same name we announced a competition, revealed two winners and gave them a monetary award.
Our organization visited the "International Women's Conference" held in Baku, where we reviewed the challenges and stories of female entrepreneurs, met strong women from different countries who are at war every day - and fought to break down stereotypes.
It is an important achievement that our digital event, Digital Exhibition Week of Women in Art, has become an annual event and this year it is being held for the third time. The mission of this project is to create a global platform on which female artists are given an opportunity to exhibit their art to a wide audience, and contribute to the exchange of ideas. The main goal of our project is to provide access to the works of female artists and to promote their economic empowerment.
Q. What are the rules of becoming a member of the WBCG and why young entrepreneurs should join the Council?
A. Membership in our organization is open to women entrepreneurs registered in Georgia and not residents.
This year we are launching various events to motivate our members, and our goal is to provide effective services based on the capabilities and requirements of women entrepreneurs and to advocate for them.
Q. How has the interest of female entrepreneurs changed recently towards the economy?
A. Mostly female entrepreneurs are involved in micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses. According to statistics, women are mostly self-employed, so they have the status of individual entrepreneur and micro-entrepreneur. The number of women-led startups has increased, which is very good. There has been an increase in female startups.
However, as you know, more access to finance for women is important for development. So I would like to point out that it is important to have various grant programs, even run a small and micro-business development grant program in Georgia, or various programs by financial institutions to support women entrepreneurs, which simplifies the process of taking out business loans.
Many feel it is more difficult for women to do business, and the European Union is trying to strengthen the role of women in the economy through various projects and programs. Moreover, when countries are evaluated, by economic or other development indicators, one of the important factors in giving a rating to a country is "women in business".
Q. How should the business environment be changed in Georgia so women may better succeed in their economic activities?
A. The list of needs of women entrepreneurs remains unchanged in Georgia. Achieving gender equality is an imperative of modern business. The list is quite long. I will single out access to finance and gender balance in the workplace.
We should focus more on the development of entrepreneurial skills. We and similar NGOs try to provide a variety of training, inasmuch as it helps women plan their business idea from the beginning and think about possible means of future development.
Stereotypes about female entrepreneurs have already begun to break down. Women have become interested in unconventional and unpopular professions, and have even become more accustomed to such professions as bus driver, engineering, building, and more.
Q. Overall, how has the business environment improved in Georgia and for female entrepreneurs in particular?
A. The last three years have put a heavy burden on the private sector and especially on small and medium businesses. There were unforeseen expenses that led to the needs caused by the pandemic to digitize systems and services. This was necessary to keep companies alive.
When it comes to talking about today's business environment, there are challenges, and business support organizations like ours are taking the initiative to respond to various needs.
Women entrepreneurs are the most vulnerable due to their unchanging needs. Effectively responding to the economic needs of women in business is paramount. The current environment has not improved and the challenges remain, which include access to finance and the development of practical skills and knowledge. In the case of female entrepreneurs, I would mention as an improvement the fact that women have moved into businesses that are not typical for women (logistics, construction, energy, winemaking, etc.).
Q. WBCG supported the Golden Brand Awards this year again. How would you evaluate your cooperation?
A. The Golden Brand is a gift for business people, which the private sector looks forward to every year. I have so much to say about the fantastic team behind this truly massive award show.
We are proud to cooperate with Golden Brand, which has been going for eighteen years. Every year this award ceremony gives us an opportunity for a kind of review and analysis of the various companies’ operations from the previous year. Businesses are proud to accept the award and display the Golden Brand logo.
Q. Why did you come up with the idea of helping female entrepreneurs?
A. The WBCG is a non-profit organization based on membership, the purpose of which is to popularize entrepreneurial skills in Tbilisi and the regions of Georgia, to strengthen economic opportunities for women, to organize various events (seminars, conferences, forums, etc.).
I am the co-founder and chairman of this organization for the second term. I am also an associate professor of Alte University and the author of various scientific works.
In response to your question of why I had the idea to help women entrepreneurs, I would say that the most effective way to gain independence and reduce violence against women is their economic empowerment. A financially strong woman is free in her choices and decisions.
When I was young I loved cinema, painting. I successfully mastered the desired professions, however, in real life, an “iron curtain” was erected in front of me. Due to my overly realistic nature, I made a proper assessment of the reality in which I would have to spend the coming years. I refused many attractive opportunities to continue my studies abroad, and at the same time I realized that I was refusing the desired profession in the process.
I did not stop and continued to study for my Ph. D, and soon I was transferred to the business field, then the public sector in the direction of business followed by projects with donor organizations on social and economic topics.
As soon as I was starting to talk about establishing the women's organization, many people were angry and even worried that women do not need support at all. Even women around me made such criticism.
To this day, many women think that no one has abused them, because in the opinion of many, violence includes only physical action. However, what is considered a norm for many may also be a violation of women's rights. Imagine when the career growth of a woman with much higher qualifications is very difficult and she often cannot be promoted just because she represents the
Co-founding the WBCG is a great honor for me. Although it requires a lot of effort, at the same time it creates new opportunities for others and speaks loudly about our needs and desires and, very importantly, creates a group of women who strengthen each other and are ready to share their experiences or failures at any time. Join us! Our door is open to everyone!
Every successful company creates not only a valuable product, but also value itself, in which it is vital to invest such things as discipline, hard work and intellect to turn every working day into an opportunity, to see a little further than others see, and to notice angles around you which others do not. This is the key to success.
The word “success” unites many things in its significance — he who can draw conclusions, make specific decisions and, of course, act on time! Patience, the ability to convey to people what only you can see and hear; healthy pragmatism and determination, courage and creativity — all these qualities are no less important than doing your job every day, and that's what makes a successful business unlike any other.
As for the Golden Brand, for eighteen years it has been moving ever more boldly towards innovation. I will also note that Golden Brand, which researches and rewards brands, has long since become a brand itself. The name of Golden Brand has gone beyond the borders of Georgia, and today not only Georgian, but also the largest international brands are proud of being recognized by it.
It is nice to see that many companies use Golden Brand trademarks in advertising. You can often see Golden Brand labels on various products at shop counters. This means that facts always speak louder than words.
Each year many brands are waiting to win. We do not forget that their success is measured by professional achievements. The stories of all the winning brands over the years prove that anyone can become successful in all important areas of business if they want to. An active personal position, the desire to conquer new heights, an extraordinary approach to solving problems — managers with these qualities make a brand exemplary. And finally, I want to congratulate you on victory, and wish you progress and success in all your endeavors!
Milka, one of nine global chocolate brands in the Mondelēz International family, won its fourth Golden Brand award in a row in the category “favorite chocolate brand”.
About 2,000 customers and more than 100 experts who participated in the survey of Golden Brand named Milka their favorite chocolate.
Nino Enukidze, Perfect Store Activation Manager of Mondelēz Georgia, shared her impressions of Milka’s win in an interview with Golden Brand.
Q. Georgian customers have named Milka their favorite chocolate brand again this year. What brought Milka this recognition, in your opinion?
A. We enjoy two keys to success — first the power of the Milka brand, and second, brand communication.
Last year we also significantly increased investment in media and digital, launched a new equity campaign, and updated Milka packaging.
Altogether, this helped us to win the hearts of our consumers again.
Q. Golden Brand is given to brands following successful operations of the previous year. Please summarize the year 2022.
A. It was a tough year for the whole team, but we managed to drive positive changes in the market in Georgia through intensified digital activity and strong media support, and outdoor campaigns during the Christmas season.
Last year we were also happy to get the global Effie award, which inspires and champions the practice and practitioners of marketing effectiveness globally, for the Milka “Tender Words” campaign. For us it’s a very important award, as it reflects our efforts to inspire tenderness among people and make relationships between people a little more caring and tender.
Milka grew by double digits in our country last year.
Q. How has 2023 begun for your company, and what are your expectations?
A. We began this year with the new equity rollout on all the platforms. We also carried out a tailor-made promo with Spar, and a spring seasonal with Milka pralines.
Q. What are some recent developments of Milka as a brand? Please share the brand's progress on the Georgian market.
A. Milka is positioned globally as an ambassador of tenderness, that’s what we stand for and what we have brought to our consumers over 100 years all over the world. Recently in Georgia we have kept our focus on tenderness in line with the global equity message.
Q. Please tell us about the future plans of Milka in Georgia. Do you plan to introduce new products to Georgia and which would those be?
A. Georgian customers are one of the most snack-friendly audiences. We see that they are eager to try new products and flavors. That’s why we are encouraged to offer new products. But precise flavors and design are a secret!
Q. What share does Georgia have in Milka’s global presence?
A. We consider the Georgian market a focus market for our business.
Years of work here have shown that local customers greet our innovations with enthusiasm and excitement. So we definitely want to continue investments in the growth of our brand here.
Q. Please tell us your opinion, what makes Milka unique and why do Georgian customers love it?
A. Milka is unique because of the tenderness of its chocolate and smooth milky taste – this is what brings customers back to us.
Q. What investments does Mondelez make in Georgia to promote Milka?
A. We are increasing our investments in TV, digital and outdoor every year with special attention to the Georgian market as we see positive feedback from consumers here. Milka Georgia is one of the biggest markets in Eurasia BU and we focus on that.
Mildronate®, produced by the leading pharmaceutical company in the Baltic states, Grindeks, has won the most prestigious and influential business award in Georgia, the Golden Brand, in the category “favorite medication for restoration of physical capacity” for 2022.
In addition to Mildronate®, Grindeks, which has been operating on the Georgian market for more than 20 years, offers about 50 medicines and plans to introduce more in 2023-2024.
Grindeks' product portfolio includes original products, generics, and active pharmaceutical ingredients, all produced in line with internationally-recognized safety and quality standards and sold in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Head of Grindeks Representative office in Georgia, Natia Kikvadze, shared the story of Mildronate® in clinical practice and talked about the company’s future in Georgia with Golden Brand.
Q. In the category of “favorite medication for restoration of physical capacity”, Mildronate® has won the Golden Brand award. Why do you think experts and consumers named Mildronate® their favorite brand?
A. Mildronate® has a tonic effect on the central nervous system, improves mental activity, attention and memory concentration, restores the body's energy reserves during physical and mental overload, and helps maintain mental and physical activity, which of course has a positive effect on quality of life.
We've seen many cases where a patient recalls feeling better and more energetic while using Mildronate® and asks the doctor to prescribe the medication again.
Mildronate® has been present in the pharmaceutical market of Georgia for several decades and its effectiveness and safety have been tested by thousands of doctors and patients.
Mildronate® is available in all pharmacy chains - Aversi, GPC, Pharmadepot, PSP, Impex, Pharm House - and in private pharmacies.
Q. What were the sales statistics of Mildronate® in 2022?
A. Sales of Mildronate® have been steadily increasing year by year. It increased significantly during and after the pandemic, which was due to the high effectiveness of the medicine in post-COVID asthenia, and its ability to reduce cardiovascular complications in patients with COVID-19.
Many new patients and doctors experienced the effects of Mildronate®. In 2022, sales of Mildronate® increased by 19% compared to the previous year.
Q. What makes this medication so popular on the market and what is its most notable advantage?
A. Mildronate® is an original product with a dual mechanism of action for patients with cardiovascular diseases, which provides multifactorial protection of organs and tissues. It is the only metabolic drug capable of protecting both the heart and the brain, blood vessels, from ischemic damage in patients with angina, chronic heart failure, and blood circulation disorders in the brain.
In addition, it increases tolerance for physical activities and improves cognitive function. It can be used both in patients and in healthy individuals to improve physical and mental performance. Similar multifaceted therapeutic effect is not characteristic of any other metabolic means, which makes Mildronate® unique and unrivaled.
Q. What are the recent developments and future plans of Grindeks Georgia?
A. Grindeks is the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in the Baltic states, operating since 1946. Over the years we have been recognized for helping millions of patients worldwide.
Grindeks’ product portfolio is composed of original products, generics, and active pharmaceutical ingredients, all produced in line with the world-class requirements of safety and quality.
As for recent activities in Georgia, we offer high quality products, so our market share and customer demand increase annually.
The Grindeks office in Georgia is also hiring new people all the time, and we have offices in Tbilisi and western Georgia.
We try to contribute to the postgraduate education of medical personnel, and we organize local conferences and sponsor events organized by various medical associations.
Q. Grindeks was planning to register diabetes medications in Georgia. Please tell us how these plans were realized.
A. Yes, in 2023 we registered the diabetes medication Sitagliptin and an anti-itching skin product Dimestil gel. Products will appear in April for retail selling.
Three more medicines will be registered by the end of this year, and five medicines are planned to be registered in 2024.
So far the Grindeks portfolio includes 50 medicines, with 75 products total according to forms and dosages.
Q. How does the head office of Grdinkes evaluate the activities of the office in Georgia?
A. The head office appreciates the contribution of each country to the development of the entire company, so recognition of Grindeks products by Georgian patients and healthcare professionals is highly valued. Every year, when the best employees are announced, there is one from Georgia.
The communication between our two countries is effective and both parties rely on professional international teamwork. Georgia is always considered a leading country from the business development point of view.
Q. What is the contribution of Grindeks in developing the Georgian pharmaceutical market?
A. Medications registered in Georgia are in the following therapeutic groups: cardiovascular, central nervous system, and now products for diabetes treatment.
I think Grindeks contributes to the Georgian market development largely because our generics are of European quality yet low-cost.
Our goal is to improve people's quality of life and increase access to medical solutions in Georgia.
It all began with the love of wine-making, which united four brothers of the Mildiani family to establish a winery and continue 8,000 years of Georgian history with the best combination of traditional and modern methods.
Eldari, Levani, Leri and Pridoni’s first step was to buy locally-produced wine and export it to Russia. The brothers saw there was potential in the business and decided to create a wine pouring enterprise in the country’s ancient city of Mtskheta back in the ‘90s.
Soon a ceramic shop was also built there that produced different kinds of ceramic bottles for wine. The bottled wine was sold for export.
After a few years the brothers moved from Mtskheta to the country’s wine region of Kakheti, where they established a private wine company in the special winery microzone of the village of Tsinandali. Since then the company has been producing the best quality wines and other grape-based alcohol beverages.
These have gained many international awards and badges over the years. The 2002 harvest Saperavi wine of Mildiani Winery was awarded a silver badge in the Paris 2004 international wine contest Vinalies Internationales. It was the first Georgian wine to receive such an award since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Today Mildiani Family Winery owns vineyards in different winery zones in Kakheti, including the Kindzmarauli, Napareuli and Tsinandali microzones, and is now a group comprised of Tsinandali Old Marani, Gurjaani Wine Marani, souvenir wine enterprise Vazi-1, and a distribution company, Letre.
The company produces not only wine, but brandy, chacha and other alcoholic beverages, and sells their product not only in Georgia but in 21 other countries.
Being a winner of Sakura Japan Women's Wine Awards, Mildiani has thus also been praised and awarded with the local business award of Golden Brand.
Eldar Mildiani talked with Golden Brand about their family label’s wines.
Q. The experts and customers who participated in the survey of Golden Brand lauded Mildiani Family Winery’s successful activities of 2022 and named it their favorite winery. Could you please summarize 2022?
A. First of all, thank you for this wonderful award. It really means a lot to us.
I think that purposefulness and many years of hard work have yielded this result.
Regulations imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 were lifted in Georgia like in other countries of the world and as a business we finally became free in 2022. Despite the pandemic and the decline in sales in previous years, we paid attention to the market as before. This in itself raised the level of trust in our winery. I think that was one of the main factors that led us to the Golden Brand award.
High quality and the variety of our portfolio also made an impression on experts and customers.
Q. I agree, Mildiani Family Winery is truly distinguished with its diverse products, which are very different from what other companies are offering. Please introduce your wines to our readers.
A. As you know, we produce wine-based drinks. These are wine, chacha, brandy, sparkling wine, liquor wine, wine in ceramics, wines in souvenir packaging, honey vodka Tapluchi, and others. In total we produce about 150 sorts of alcoholic beverages.
Q. Wine fermented in the traditional qvevri clay vessels, buried underground and made with grapes of French origin but grown in Kakheti, was especially popular. How did this idea come about?
A. Yes, you are talking about Cabernet Sauvignon. This grape variety has been cultivated in Kakheti for a long time. The idea of putting it in a qvevri arose by itself. We were wondering what the qvevri’s Cabernet would be like. Our hopes were justified and will continue production of this wine variety in the future.
Q. In general, what kind of winemaking technology has the winery developed over the years?
A. I probably wouldn't call it our technology, but we have our signature, of course.
Q. You also offer dessert wines, liqueurs with chocolate and cherry flavors — how popular is this line among consumers and how did you create these products?
A. Practice has shown that people interested in flavored wine are quite an important part of our society. We just try to have a product for every taste.
Q. Please tell us which countries Mildiani wines are exported to?
A. Mildiani wine is exported to almost all continents of the world, including in many European countries such as Germany, France, Poland, Holland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary. We export to England, America and Canada. We cooperate with Ukraine and different post-Soviet countries.
We are also active in the Asian market. China and Japan are our largest partner countries in Asia.
Our company tries its best to expand its presence on the international market and popularize Georgian wine all over the world.
Q. What are the sales statistics on the domestic market?
A. We are satisfied with the sales figures of 2022. Compared to the previous year, we had an increase of 28%. At the moment we are in the top five in terms of market share. Both our qvevri line and classic wines are selling well and are profitable.
Melochi Zhizni, owned by a Ukrainian brand of homecare products Ergopack, will expand its range of already diverse products, available on the Georgian market since 2007, by adding plastics and accessories for dry cleaning, Eka Maghlaperidze, told Golden Brand. Maghlaperidze is head of the marketing department at Libo Group, a marketing, sales and distribution company that imports Melochi Zhizni to Georgia.
“It is very important for Libo Group to ensure continuous supply of a diverse range of products through modern logistics technology, pamper customers with discounts and gift sets, and take care of strengthening long-term, mutually beneficial cooperation with partner companies,” Maghlaperidze said.
Melochi Zhizni offers about 200 different products created with the highest quality raw materials and in compliance with international standards. The brand is represented by a wide range of household products and combines all seemingly small but very important products such as baking paper, aluminum foil, cling wrap, roasting sleeves, sponges, garbage bags, household gloves, and much more.
The brand's slogan "Happiness is in the small things" reflects the company's commitment to helping homemakers simplify fuss in the kitchen.
Feedback from customers is positive and they once again named the brand as their favorite household goods brand in the Golden Brand awards survey.
Q. Unfortunately, the political and economic environment in Ukraine has not improved since our interview last year. How is the cooperation between Melochi Zhizhni and Libo Group going - how have production and supply not been interrupted?
A. Right, unfortunately the political and economic situation in Ukraine has not improved, and the country is still fighting against Russia's aggression in order to gain freedom and peace, but in spite of this obstacle, cooperation between Libo Group and Ergopack, the producer company of Melochi Zhizni, is quite strong and successful.
Our long-term cooperation and common goals are how we have been able to maintain the continuity of product supply even in such an unstable environment. Obviously there were some delays due to the economic and political situation, however Ergopack was able to continue production and operate in a competitive market in a short period of time.
Q. Melochi Zhizni has been available on the Georgian market for 19 years already. Could you please briefly summarize these years on the Georgian market?
A. Any product, be it one of daily use or a luxury item, must meet the needs and desires of the customers. Melochi Zhizni products are created to offer a wide selection of household goods which simplify the daily activities of housewives and respond to the basic needs and requirements of all customers. Accordingly, the main value of the brand is the creation of products tailored to customers, and position itself on the market with high quality and acceptable prices.
The company uses a mix of marketing activities to bring products to the target market and achieve customer satisfaction.
Q. Please introduce our readers to Melochi Zhizni’s products in Georgia. Which of them are the most in demand in the country?
A. Currently we import over 200 Melochi Zhizni products in Georgia, with about fifty most in-demand.
All products are characterized by high quality, reasonable prices and a wide selection, which allow everyone to choose according to their needs and preferences.
Melochi Zhizni products are created with the highest quality raw materials and in compliance with international standards. The brand is represented by all seemingly small but very important products such as baking paper, aluminum foil, food wrapping plastic, meat grinders, dishwashing sponges, trash cans, kitchenware and much more.
The brand slogan, ‘Happiness is in the small things’, reflects their importance and provides housekeepers with the comfort that will simplify ‘fuss’ in the kitchen.
Melochi Zhizni products can be purchased in almost all chain stores throughout Georgia, and in wholesale and retail outlets. In terms of market coverage, Melochi Zhizni is a true leader.
Q. Because Melochi Zhizni’s performance in 2022 earned it the Golden Brand award, please summarize the year and share some major achievements.
A. Melochi Zhizni has become the winner of the Golden Brand awards for the third time, which makes us very happy and at the same time gives us more incentive to better take care of brand development.
As in the previous year, 2022 was also very successful for the company both in terms of sales and marketing. Sales increased by 27% in all product categories, especially in baking accessories, garbage bags and kitchen gloves.
The high quality of the products, affordable prices and marketing activities resulted in an increased market share last year. In order to increase brand awareness and credibility, many types of marketing and PR activities were carried out in 2022 — various types of advertising campaigns both on social media and TV, sponsorship of highly rated cooking shows, creation of video recipes with the participation of famous cooks and chefs, sponsorship of culinary events and much else.
Due to the increase in sales in 2022, the share of product placement in online or traditional channels also increased compared to competitors, which allowed us to place a wider range of products in stores.
Customers can purchase Melochi Zhizni products in all network stores and traditional types of shopping outlets present on the Georgian market today.
I must mention that every employee of our companies, Ergopack and Libo Group, who are distinguished by their high professionalism, contributed to obtaining the Golden Brand title. Teamwork, effort, dedication to work, and striving to achieve goals are what guarantee the success of our brand.
Being a leader in the field of household goods means a great responsibility to take care of customer needs by offering the highest quality product and constant improvement.
Radio holding Maestro is striving to be more visible online, sharing content at its website http://radiomaestro.ge, on social networks and its YouTube channel in order to reach its listeners not only in Georgia but abroad.
Tamar Ghlonti, acting director of Radio Maestro, spoke with Golden Brand about how the holding is dealing with the current challenges and why it is important for the company to strengthen its presence online.
Q. What are recent developments at Radio holding 94.7 FM?
A. The last period has been very active for Radio Maestro due to our format. In light of the biggest events taking place in the world, the Russia-Ukraine war for example, the amount of news coverage on our airwaves has increased. The number of recorded interviews with foreign and Georgian politicians and experts has also increased. Among them the most significant is the monthly summary interview with Mykhailo Podoliak, the adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, with whom Levan Chitanava, a journalist of Radio Maestro, is in close contact. In the interviews, Levan discusses not only the course of the Russia-Ukraine war, but also issues of world importance and challenges related to Georgia. This indicates why Radio Maestro is a reliable and esteemed media outlet even outside the country.
Q. How diverse are the programs at Radio Maestro?
A. Radio Maestro is news radio, although its broadcasting network is really diverse — listeners not only receive complete and reliable information not only on current news, but also educational programs that will interest all ages, as well as business and medical programs, technology news, historical events, etc.
Legal questions are also very relevant among listeners, so we added a program about that. This is an open air where listeners are actively involved. Also, listeners have the opportunity to express their opinion on the important events of the day live on the program "People's opinion". The calls are not filtered, which shows that Radio Maestro is open, independent and impartial.
Q. How developed is the radio sector in Georgia and what is Radio Maestro’s contribution?
A. The radio sector is definitely developed in Georgia, although it would probably be even more developed under conditions of a healthy and suitable environment. Radio Maestro has been going for twelve years, and throughout this period we have never stood still and have always introduced innovative approaches in the sector, which we will definitely continue.
The relevance of the radio sector became even more tangible during the pandemic, when it was once again proven that the radio is an important instrument for the spread of information and an important actor in the media sector.
Q. What are the challenges the sector is facing currently?
A. At this stage, the biggest challenge for the radio sector are abnormally high government taxes.
In order for this sector to develop, it needs a decent income from advertising, which unfortunately does not meet the requirements that exist in the sector. All kinds of research, including research commissioned by our competing media outlets, prove that Radio Maestro is one of the most rated media outlets. It is the only radio with news format that broadcasts 24/7 all over Georgia, interest in us is also obvious from the business sector.
But radio has a limitation on the timing of advertising blocks. Businesses in Georgia do not have the opportunity to invest large financial resources in advertising, and the funds that flow into independent media are not enough to deal with taxes. Therefore a balanced policy from the state is needed in the long term.
Q. Last year, the total commercial advertising revenue of television and radio broadcasters decreased by 7.6% compared to the previous year — 79.9 million GEL. Is it related to banning gambling ads, or what reasons would you give?
A. Yes, these restrictions certainly have a huge impact on radio advertising revenue. A balanced and adequate approach from the state is needed. Taxes are increasing, while income is decreasing.
Q. How does the decrease in income complicate the activities of radio broadcasters, including Maestro?
A. Of course, it has made it difficult, but we managed and started working with a different system. I would say that global technological development has helped us, which is why it is important for the country to become a member of European structures, which will give us the opportunity to further develop and not lag behind the world.
Q. Please tell us why Radio Maestro supports the Golden Brand awards.
A. Golden Brand is an incentive for businesses and important for the country. It will lead to the economic development and growth of the country in the future. So Radio Maestro will always support such events and initiatives with the necessary information campaign
Kordzadze Law Office, one of the leading law firms in Georgia, has been given the Golden Brand award for the fourteenth time.
Throughout its history, Kordzadze Law Office has gained a reputation as a reliable, ethical and highly professional law firm.
In this interview Zviad Kordzadze, the managing partner and attorney at Kordzadze Law Office, talked about what led the company to this unchanged recognition from over 100 experts and 2,000 customers involved in the Golden Brand survey.
Q. This year is the eighteenth Golden Brand award ceremony, and in which Kordzadze Law Office has won a fourteenth time. How have you managed to keep this recognition for so many years?
A. Victory in this category has become a tradition for Kordzadze Law Office, although obviously this victory does not come automatically. This is the result of the hard work of the office’s employees, each lawyer year after year, and we are happy that our work is appreciated.
Q. Golden Brand is given to the companies following the previous year’s activities. Please summarize 2022.
A. 2022 was significant and peculiar not only for business, but for humanity in general, as it was a year of complete liberation from the pandemic. Last year it became obvious that in 2023 business would also return to pre-pandemic levels.
Our business depends on the inflow of investments into the country, how much the businesses need legal services, etc. When there are no investment activities, there is no need for legal services.
Like many other companies in Georgia and the whole world, we also faced difficulties during the pandemic; with a crisis situation and nothing happening in the world, investors tried to save money and were less engaged in business, so the work of lawyers also decreased.
2022 was important for our office as a very interesting new niche was identified — medical law, in particular services related to assisted reproductive technologies, including gamete donation and surrogacy, which is led by firm partner Nino Bogveradze.
Q. What are your expectations for 2023?
A. Expectations for 2023 are positive, we think that business will become more active, and more people will need legal support. We have several ideas we’re planning to put forward. We want to offer several new products to the market, which I will not talk about in detail now, but I will tell you that the importance of these products is in their uniqueness.
Q. Your legal work is connected to a number of high-profile cases. How difficult is it to work on similar cases in Georgia, when in some cases you actually have the government as the "respondent" party?
A. There is only one thing that causes cases to become public — when proper justice is not done. This is what distinguishes high-profile and non-high-profile cases, otherwise it requires the same effort from the lawyer.
At such times, there are contradictions that are not related to law, and this is the biggest complaint against the court. It’s when someone games the system and places themselves above the law.
Speaking of our office’s high-profile cases, I cannot avoid mentioning the Khazaradze-Japaridze case. The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into possible money laundering on 2 August 2018, summoning TBC Bank’s founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze to charge them with laundering $16,754,000. Last year Khazaradze and Japaridze were found guilty of fraud and sentenced to seven years in prison by Tbilisi City Court, but due to the statute of limitations their prison time was waived.
Even in that situation, the result was a great success and achievement. It is difficult, but we are not going to stop even at this satisfactory result, and if we run out of leverage within the framework of Georgian justice, we will use the leverage of the European Court of Human Rights. By the way, I would like to mention that the mood of the client is very important in this whole process. When they are willing to participate in such a long battle, it is an additional incentive and tool for us, lawyers, to successfully complete the case.
Q. The use of modern technology in the justice system — what do you think about this issue? How realistic is it that artificial intelligence will one day replace the lawyer's profession?
A. In general, people perceive everything new as a threat. Ultimately, those who do not perceive technological innovations as a threat use them as a means and move forward accordingly. Back to your question, I don't think artificial intelligence will ever be a threat to the legal field, and I have arguments for it. It will be an additional tool, like the internet, Google, etc. It will simplify the performance of technical operations.
It is certainly a very useful aid in the process of giving form, sorting, and searching for evidence, but artificial intelligence will never replace the process of making decisions in jurisprudence. A process in which the moment of subjectivity is important, which is related to emotions, inner beliefs and such sensations that are characteristic of a human being. Certain professions will no longer exist years from now and will be replaced by artificial intelligence, but lawyers and judges cannot be replaced by any technology.
Q. Kordzadze Law Office has been actively involved in art support and various social projects for years. What is your company's involvement in similar projects, and in general, what is the company's charity strategy this year?
A. Our support to theaters is visible because these theaters always announce us as a partner in presenting performances; and we are engaged in other social activities, such as pro bono cases. Still, I don't think it's right to use it for PR. The office will continue such activities to the best of its ability.
One thing I can say is that it is very important that the beneficiary people or groups are correctly selected within the scope of the social responsibility activity and that the aid is directed correctly and not to serve only PR. For example, we cooperate with non-governmental organizations who know people's needs and give us the right direction. In general, sympathy towards other more vulnerable groups is very important and we must remember that if we want to be part of the European community, this is the benefit and advantage of this community.
Swedish manufacturer of wood and vinyl floors Kährs is continuing to “work” the wood flooring industry with a series of innovations and flooring solutions for homes in Georgia.
As an exclusive importer of Swedish flooring materials, Kährs Georgia brings its expertise accumulated over 160 years of existence and new ideas on how to improve floors, make them more attractive, stronger, easier to install, and more sustainable.
Customers in Georgia also expressed their gratitude toward the company when it named Kährs Georgia as their favorite “flooring materials” brand in the country. In addition to customers, experts from different fields who participated in the Golden Brand survey also recognized Kährs Georgia in this nomination, giving the company its first Golden Brand award.
Kährs has been supplying products to more than 70 countries, including Georgia, since 2019. Today Kährs floors can be found in homes, offices, shops, hotels, concert halls, theaters and sports arenas across the country, and the company is proud of its strong presence on the Georgian market.
Deputy Director of Kährs Georgia Elene Gvaramadze reviewed with Golden Brand the success behind the company on the local market.
Q. Let’s talk about the Golden Brand awards, as you are a newcomer. How has the company gained so much trust and love from customers in such a short period of time?
A. Since the opening of Kährs Georgia, our company has been focused on offering customers the highest quality products and services, which has led to customer trust. We were also actively involved in promoting the brand and wanted to become known to a wider audience. These factors helped a lot to win us the Golden Brand award this year, which we are very thankful for.
Q. As the award is given to the companies based on the successful activities of the previous year, could you please review 2022 and share some highlights?
A. 2022 was fruitful for our company as the demand for our products increased. I would also like to mention that last year we worked with hotels, sports halls and laboratories, so we moved beyond residential installations.
We saw demand from designers, architects and construction companies. So awareness, number of products, and loyal customers have all increased.
Q. Can you remember what the first product that Kährs Georgai brought to our market was and how many products are in the company’s portfolio as of today?
A. The first product we introduced was a three-strip parquet. Currently we offer our customers up to 400 models of two-strip and three-strip parquet.
We also have an innovative product, vinyl, with a wide selection and continuously updated collections.
We also offer customers ecologically clean materials from the Italian floor brand Tover, such as floor and vinyl glue and primer.
We also have parquet care products, and flooring and renovation services.
Q. Laminate is very popular in our market because, unlike wood parquet, it is more affordable. Kährs parquets are quite expensive for mass consumption. How popular are Kährs parquets in Georgia, and please share the sales figures.
A. Our strategy is offering our customers an ecologically clean and high-quality product. Of course, the price of wood parquet is different from laminate flooring and is more expensive, however the price between our quality laminate and budget parquet is small.
Also there is vinyl, which competes with laminate both in terms of price and quality as a budget product with high quality.
In general, Kährs’ portfolio is very diverse as we offer both budget and premium line products. Our products are affordable for the middle and high segments.
As for sales statistics, last year Kährs Georgia saw an 80% increase compared to 2021. In the past years customers chose more budget models, but in 2022 this trend changed and we mostly work on premium class models.
The most in-demand in 2022-2023 is spruce flooring, of which we have a wide variety.
Q. Please share some future plans with our readers.
A. We have received different collections of new vinyls. We have also received a floor covering that is used in cliniles, which does not have much competition in the Georgian market.
We also went for a quartz vinyl floor and a floor with zero-sound insulation that can be used in any type of commercial space, be it a clinic, laboratory, airport or school.
We have also obtained a hypoallergenic wall coating and added new cleaning products to our portfolio.
Finally, we are thinking about opening a new branch in Georgia. Currently, Kährs Georgia is represented by only one store which is located at 2 Vazha-Pshavela in Tbilisi.
Georgian construction and repair company Kgroup has achieved 20% growth in the field of construction and metal product manufacturing.
According to statistics, Kgroup carried out 38 repair projects (+14.6%), 78 projects in construction (+30%), and 144 projects in metal product manufacturing (+55.4%) in 2022.
Korneli Khvedelidze, Director of Kgroup, said demand for services in the construction sector is growing every day.
“Kgroup cooperates with large companies such as M2, Villa Residence, Anagi development, Archi, Element Construction. This is not the full list, of course. The quality work of Kgroup and its professional team have made many partner companies want to continue working with us," he said.
Khvedelidze also informed readers of Golden Brand “with great joy” that Kgroup was “one step closer” to becoming the largest metal products company in the South Caucasus. He added that completely “new and modern” tools introduced to the company last year have significantly simplified the work process. The company even set an ambitious goal to start exporting its metal furniture abroad.
“We are offering even higher-quality metal products and construction facilities to customers and vow to continue growth and the development in the future," Khvedelidze said.
Kgroup has been operating on the Georgian market since 2014 and has established a
leading position in its field.
The company manufactures metal gates, railings, grilles and household items, as well as metal structures for large, industrial constructions. It owns a holding in the eastern city of Rustavi, which allows the company to serve customers virtually throughout Georgia while being headquartered in the capital city of Tbilisi.
Khvedelidze recalls that there were “many obstacles, many achievements, but the enthusiasm, dedication, and years of experience of the people working in our company have helped us to overcome all difficulties."
Khvedelidze says that the company went through “many new things, obstacles and experiences” last year.
“Ukraine, which is now fighting Russia, was one exporter of metal goods. Due to unfortunate events, the import of metal was interrupted and Turkey became our main supplier. We had to find new contacts in order to continue our work perfectly and with quality. We managed to achieve this goal," he said.
Khvedelidze considers the biggest achievement of the company creating quality products that were not produced in Georgia before Kgroup and restoring trust in craftsmen.
The successful development of the company has been crowned by the Golden Brand award this
year, which recognized Kgroup as Georgian customers’ favorite manufacturer of metal products.
Q. Due to the successful activities of 2022 Kgroup once again became the winner of the Golden Brand award. How has the company managed to maintain this award and the title of favorite manufacturer of metal products?
A. The Golden Brand award we received last year was a recognition of the company's reliability, the quality of its products, and appreciation of the work of its employees. All this motivated us to keep going, to prepare for the changing environment, to introduce innovations, to listen to customers and offer them even more diverse, sophisticated and even higher quality products and services.
Enthusiasm, loyalty of the people in the team, motivation received from you became a prerequisite for the fact that we once again earned the award which is often referred as the "Business Oscars" of Georgia.
Q. You said that completely “new and modern” tools had been introduced to Kgroup. What new features have these tools added?
A. Today we are equipped with new machine tools, and in the future we plan to make even more diverse both our equipment and manufactured products.
Thanks to the existing modern equipment, currently we can fulfill orders in a shorter period of time, and we have the opportunity to cut and process the metal with millimeter accuracy, which affects the quality and increases productivity - more products can be made with less effort than in the past.
All this helps us get relevant certificates, adapt to EU standards, think about going outside of Georgia and offering European quality products to foreign countries.
Q. Your goal is to make Kgroup the largest metal products company in the South Caucasus. What about in Georgia? What is the company’s position here?
A. I can confidently say that we are one of the largest companies in Georgia, which offers customers comfort in service, the highest quality metal products and construction objects made in full compliance with regulations.
As far as metal goods, I can proudly say that we are the leaders in the market and we have a 20% share, which increases every year. As Michael Jordan once said, "talent wins games but only teamwork wins championships”. Thanks to my team's hard work and enthusiasm, the market share of Kgroup will continue to grow and our leadership position will be maintained in the future.
We will also soon be the largest and most reliable enterprise in the South Caucasus.
Q. You mentioned export plans several times. Which countries are you thinking of cooperating with, and what type of furniture are you thinking of exporting?
A. Negotiations regarding the export of metal furniture were conducted with neighboring countries, but so far work on this issue has been suspended due to global crises and unfortunate events.
We stand by Turkey and Ukraine and wish them a peaceful life.
Discussions on furniture export will definitely continue and we will be able to offer neighboring countries comfortable and high-quality furniture made of natural loft materials in the near future