Khatia Bukhrashvili, the Secretary General International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia

ICC Georgia Launches Initiatives to Boost Digital Commerce, Access to Finance, and Empower Women Entrepreneurs

The International Chamber of Commerce Georgia is currently working on several important initiatives to promote the Georgian business environment.

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June 15, 2024

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The International Chamber of Commerce Georgia is currently working on several important initiatives to promote the Georgian business environment.

These initiatives include expanding digital commerce by offering more workshops on e-commerce, digital marketing, and cyber security to help businesses effectively transition into the digital world.

Another initiative is to expand access to financing for small and medium-sized businesses. There will also be sector-specific training, mentoring programs, and webinars to exchange and deepen knowledge.

ICC Georgia seeks to empower women entrepreneurs by collaborating with international partners to provide targeted training, networking opportunities, and access to financing.

Additionally, the organization will raise awareness of international sanctions to help businesses navigate the complexities of global trade.

Furthermore, ICC Georgia plans to hold more regional conferences on arbitration, so that Georgia may become a dispute resolution center in the future.

Khatia Bukhrashvili, the Secretary General International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, is one of the driving forces behind the organization’s efforts to promote the Georgian business environment.

Q. ICC is supporting the Golden Brand event again this year. Can you tell us why you believe supporting this sort of event is important for business?

A. I am pleased to announce that since the beginning of the Gold Brand Awards, the ICC Georgia has been steadfast in its support of this exceptional event, with the aim of acknowledging the accomplishments, excellence, and ingenuity of the business community.

I think that supporting prestigious events like the Golden Brand Award can offer significant benefits to businesses. The ICC’s continuing involvement is a testament to this. Such support can enhance brand visibility, establish companies as industry leaders, create numerous networking opportunities, and strengthen their position in the market. This helps to raise industry standards, promote innovation and quality, and contribute to community and economic development. Moreover, these events can boost employee morale, attract talent, increase customer trust and loyalty, and improve company credibility. I believe that this multi-year event with so many success stories plays a crucial role in building and growing business reputation, expanding networks, involving communities and committing to excellence. Ultimately, this contributes to business sustainability and industry leadership.

Q. Do you agree with the survey results about favorite brands?

A. As a professional, I have faith in the experience and reputation of the assessors who are responsible for selecting the winners of the Gold Brand Award. Their rigorous evaluation process and criteria demonstrate that the companies chosen every year are genuinely dedicated to excellence in their respective fields. Although individual opinions may differ, the consistent recognition of these companies highlights their unwavering commitment towards quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction, which is admirable and deserving of respect.

Q. In general, what type of support does the business sector need most today in Georgia?

A. The evolving business landscape in Georgia requires a comprehensive approach to provide support. I would like to highlight some key areas such as access to capital, regulatory and tax reforms to simplify administrative procedures, and skills development to keep up with technological advances.

Moreover, I believe that supporting businesses with digital transformation, expanding access to global markets, and investing in infrastructure are crucial. Additionally, promoting entrepreneurship through a supportive ecosystem and fostering a meaningful dialogue between business and government can further strengthen the sector. These strategic measures collectively contribute to business growth and sustainability, which in turn has a significant impact on Georgia’s economic progress.

Q. Please name three major obstacles the business sector faces in Georgia and three favorable circumstances for doing business in Georgia.

A. Emerging markets like Georgia pose unique challenges for businesses, including regulatory hurdles, lack of access to financing, and skills gaps. Addressing these challenges is critical to creating a more conducive business environment in Georgia that is focused on growth, innovation and global competitiveness.

Regarding the second part of this question, it is evident that granting Georgia European Union membership candidate status, its strategic location, and improved relations with the Arab world provide unique opportunities for conducting business in the country. But what makes these aspects so favorable?

First, Georgia’s EU candidate status is a significant step for the country in terms of integration with EU standards and market systems. This inspires investor confidence that Georgia is dedicated to economic reforms, good governance, and adherence to international business norms. Furthermore, Georgia’s progress towards joining the EU can attract foreign direct investment since potential investors perceive EU candidate status as a sign of stability and an improved business environment in the country. This makes Georgia more appealing for foreign direct investment, particularly in sectors compatible with EU interests and standards.

Georgia’s strategic location offers a logistical and trade advantage, serving as a bridge between European and Asia-Middle East markets.

In recent years, the relationship between Georgia and the Arab countries has improved, leading to more diverse trade and investment opportunities. This has resulted in the growth of bilateral trade agreements, joint ventures, and investments from Arab countries in various sectors of Georgia’s economy, such as tourism, agriculture, and real estate. For a country like Georgia that relies heavily on energy imports, stronger ties with energy-rich Arab countries could offer opportunities for energy partnership.

Q. Let’s continue our interview by talking about ICC Georgia. What are the latest developments at the organization?

A. The International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia plays a crucial role in enhancing the country’s business environment. We are actively engaged in various initiatives aimed at creating a favorable atmosphere for commerce and trade. Our dynamic e-commerce programs assist companies in navigating the digital marketplace, ensuring they maximize their potential in the future. We are well aware of the critical importance of access to finance, and we are working tirelessly to contribute to the growth of opportunities for companies to access finance.

I would like to draw attention to a significant initiative that we have been working on in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank for several years. The program aims to support women entrepreneurs, as we strongly believe that empowering women in business is crucial for economic diversity and strength.

ICC Georgia has a crucial role in creating awareness about international sanctions among professionals. We organize several conferences throughout the year to share the latest trends and news with businesses. Our objective is to help businesses navigate the complex landscape of international trade. I believe our efforts are valuable for business owners and professionals alike.

ICC Georgia is organizing a regional arbitration conference in June to demonstrate its commitment to commercial dispute resolution. This event is expected to attract a lot of interest from professionals in the wider region, as well as representatives of the ICC Court of Arbitration. Such initiatives by ICC Georgia will not only contribute to creating a better business environment, but will also establish Georgia as a significant player in the regional and global economy. The conference may help Georgia become an arbitration hub in the future.

Q. How many members do you have as of today?

A. ICC Georgia is a community of over 200 members and partners, including chambers of commerce from different industries and sectors. The community also offers a youth membership, which reflects its dedication to supporting the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs. ICC Georgia is committed to safeguarding the interests of businesses, and by doing so, it contributes to the growth and inclusiveness of the Georgian business environment.

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