- Sunday, 28 May 2023
- Written by Super User
After cementing its leading position on the Georgian market, Proservice, the country’s first hosting company, is set to conquer foreign markets under a new brand and increase its customer base.
CEO Revaz Natroshvili told Golden Brand that the domain and brand name had already been selected, while technical work is underway to launch the website and integrate online payments.
“We plan to launch operations on the international market under the new brand. The number of internet users who want to start websites and put various software on the net is literally unlimited, and if Georgia also appears in this market and takes a worthy place worldwide, we will have even more motivation,” Natroshvili said.
Currently Proservice provides services to customers in Latin America, North America, Europe, and Asia.
“Mostly these are transnational companies which need to host servers, including in Georgia and the Caucasus region. As for the new target countries for our company, it's hard to sort them out because there are no borders on the internet, it’s limitless. But our advertising campaign is now focused mainly on European countries."
Operations on international markets are not the company's only focus. Natroshvili says that in order not to hamper the company’s growth on the local market, they have purchased new equipment.
“80% of the capacity we have now is exhausted, and in order not to delay the growth, we have ordered new equipment in advance. Just like in manufacturing — more equipment means more resources. Everything changes and in order to remain competitive you need to invest and foster development. In a world of constant change, the winner is the one who plans ahead," Natroshvili believes.
Established in 1999, the core activities of Proservice are creation of web sites, high quality and inexpensive web hosting (web, mail, ftp), registration of domain names, creation of electronic business cards, programming of service design, consulting and web promotion planning.
The company has over 15,000 corporate and individual customers, and more than 17,000 registered domain names.
“We have created more than 600 websites for private as well as state institutions," Natroshvili told us.
In 2022 Proservice was the winner of the most influential local business award, the Golden Brand, for utmost success in its enterprise.
Q. Proservice has been operating on the Georgian market since 1999. It is interesting to compare the company's activity to the market back then, when the information and technology sector was not yet developed.
A. Back then there were only two or three companies who were making websites. My brother, Goga Natroshvili was well aware of this issue, because he was interested in this field since childhood. At the beginning of the 90s we already had a computer at home — then it was called an IBM compatible computer, because visually it looked like an IBM, but was Soviet-made part. Goga and his friend used to write small programmes together, mainly just for fun.
When the company was founded, we had no staff because everyone was self-taught. But we managed to find several physics and mathematics graduates who were interested in programming. We did our first project for a construction company. We found that no internet provider offered web hosting to customers back then.
Don't forget that this is still the time of modems and dial up. No one dreamed of the optical internet in the office or at home because it was very expensive. Besides, there was no culture of using e-mail.
I remember big companies didn't take us seriously when we offered them domain registration and e-mail service. But the situation changed in about four years and these companies changed their minds when a foreign partner asked them for their website and e-mail addresses. Around 2003 the situation changed. We brought optical channels to the office and installed the first servers.
Q. And Proservice has established itself as the leader of the market …
A. It almost came naturally because we were simply the most experienced in this field. About 80% of the companies that created web projects and started similar activities with us no longer exist today. Unfortunately, even today companies cannot stay on the market more than two or three years, because it is necessary to follow new technologies, innovations, and new requirements constantly. You can't lag behind the technology, competition is too fierce. And we have to compete not only with Georgian, but with foreign companies. There are only a few companies left from that time that are also successfully operating in web development.
If we talk about hosting alone, we are really the leaders here, because according to the latest data of the Communications Regulatory Commission, we hold slightly more than 30% of the Georgian market. Our customers are both private individuals and companies, ministries, municipalities, non-governmental and international organizations.
Q. What innovations have been introduced by Proservice onto the Georgian market?
A. We were one of the first in the field of e-commerce and one of the first to offer users online store software. This was back in 2007. But it was too early to talk about e-commerce in Georgia. Slowly the number of users has increased in Georgia as well, and probably by 2010-2011 the demand had also appeared. Also, we were the first and probably the only company to offer a hotel management and online reservation system based on Georgian software to the hospitality sector.
Q. Please introduce us to the data center that was created in 2019. What is its importance for the company and for businesses in Georgia?
A. Our data center meets all modern standards and technical specifications based on Schneider Electric continuous power supplies, cooling, monitoring, air humidity monitoring and safety systems. The data center has automatic air-conditioning equipment. Electric power is supplied from two independent supply points and is duplicated by two diesel generators provided with 24-hour reserve diesel fuel.
A private commercial data center of this standard and equipment was built for the first time in Georgia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development offered financial support in the projecting stage of the center, while later the EBRD financed us with 10% of the cost of the equipment we purchased. I would like to thank the Bank once again for its support.
After opening the data center we certainly had more opportunities and added many new services to our portfolio. I won't go into technical details, but Proservice is not inferior to any European or American hosting provider in terms of service delivery.
The new multi-functional modern building accommodates the data center and offices. Along with increased capacity and pleasant working conditions for some 25 employees of the company, the new set up ensures the company's competitiveness in Georgia and abroad. With the new data exchange center, Proservice is now exporting its services worldwide to potential customers using Google ads and other channels.Read more
- Thursday, 25 May 2023
- Written by Super User
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!Read more
- Thursday, 25 May 2023
- Written by Super User
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.
- Tuesday, 23 May 2023
- Written by Super User
If you want to enjoy a true Chinese dining experience while visiting the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi, five-star Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi's new restaurant Ensemble is your new go-to.
Fried tofu with barbecue sauce, gongbao chicken, stewed beef meatball with cabbage and vermicelli, fried mussels with garlic on sizzling board, and other masterful blends of ingredients and spices from China are created by a crew of ten chefs all from China and brought to table with legendary Chinese dining etiquette.
General Manager of the Hotel, Peter Hoellrigl, talks about Ensemble and shares some of Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi's future plans.
Q. Please introduce us to Ensemble restaurant.
A. Our Ensemble Chinese restaurant has been in operation since March and is going well. We still have many things we keep tweaking and improving. Sourcing all proper and “real” products for a wider variety will take more time. We are ramping up for the main season at the hotel, and in this period we will also hold an official opening ceremony, the exact date to be announced.
The restaurant decoration is simple Chinese, interesting are the paintings with the horses as they have a story to tell. Like all real Chinese restaurants, the main focus is on private dining rooms where we can host dinner parties of up to 24 people. Those events are in more private, luxurious settings, good for celebrations and for business meals. The service, food and environment at private rooms are even higher standard.
The most important feature of course is our team of chefs. We have a minimum crew of ten chefs, all of them from China. There is no place in Georgia even coming close to this. The chefs come as a team led by the master chef, specialized in their categories and with regional strong points.
As our restaurant is already extremely popular with Chinese natives living and working in Georgia, we also have a service team lead by a Chinese Restaurant Manager. Mr. Wang has worked for Chinese Restaurants and five-star hotels his entire career. What makes him extra successful is his past experience running a free-standing Chinese restaurant in Europe for many years.
With the wide variety of dishes from the menu and the option for custom set menus we can cater to every guest’s taste, occasion and spending power.
Q. Why did you decide to open a Chinese restaurant and not a European one, for example? Do you think it is popular among Georgians or visitors of the country? Or did you see there was a lack of quality Chinese restaurants in the country?
A. China has been in the news as future opportunities and upcoming market for several years, which is one reason to focus on. Our market research clearly showed that Asian food is trending and popular in Georgia, so we decided to specialize in Chinese cuisine, as we plan to be on the market for many years to come. Over time, when Georgians get used to sampling Asian food and their knowledge grows, they will choose specific cuisine and appreciate the taste of authenticity.
As China is such a huge country, and very diverse, we can provide food for every guest’s preference. China has healthy choices, comfort food, refined seafood, heavy meat dishes, and certainly everyone is aware of their spicy delicacies.
Since the hotel investments and BTL Hospitality Management come originally from China, we have the right connections and support. In the Hualing area there are many Asian people and Chinese based companies; they certainly are on our radar. We believe that if we can satisfy Chinese people at our restaurant, this will ensure Georgians that we are doing the right thing.
Q. I read several reviews on Tripadvisor and the restaurant got excellent ratings in most cases. Your guests said Ensemble restaurant was the place to go, calling it “a real Chinese restaurant”. What do you think, how has the restaurant achieved this recognition?
A. At our hotel, just like at our Ensemble Chinese Restaurant, we strive to deliver “Asian Hospitality” Friendliness, and special ceremonies, Asian gestures and poses are very common. This works very well for catering to guests, treating all guests like we treat honored friends visiting our home. Through specific training and commitment of our associates we ensure extra focus on guests’ satisfaction. Not just satisfying a guest, but making them regular, repeating guests.
We actively encourage our staff to request feedback, we are setting targets on satisfaction scores and also on quantity of feedback, all this as friendly, fun competition with monthly small celebrations of the team. In China, as we have experienced, the competition is so much tougher and many companies are providing restaurant reviews on the internet. We use what we learned there to keep creating and inventing ever-changing unique customer experiences.
After all, pleasing and hosting guests is a personal trait and attitude, not something that can be trained or forced – for that, allocating the right people to the right venue is key to success.
Q. What do you have planned for the Hotel?
A. In the past year we have planned and executed upgrades and renovations everywhere. All of our 246 rooms have had new features installed, furniture replaced, even electrical and mechanical things the guests don’t see, for example air quality has been updated. We plan to keep increasing our creativity and the quantity of special events and promotions.
The newest item is our family room. These rooms are biggest and feature bedsheets, pillows, and blankets with cartoon characters as well as toys, colorful kids towels, bathrobes for a family-friendly low price.
Because our hotel is big and therefore not downtown, we all have to work a little harder and better. Since last year we have been looking and working on our unique segment, a niche where we can play with less competitors. As we have our Chinese connection, some tasteful Chinese character decorations and of course our Ensemble restaurant we have been working with Asian markets. Now since China has overcome the pandemic this is paying off. We continue to extend our strength for sports groups and extend and increase our already strong SPA facilities and packages. With our current guests’ origination point, we are a perfect mix of East and West, as this beautiful country has been here for thousands of years.
Q. Let's talk about Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi as a place for different kinds of meetings. What types of meetings can be held at the hotel?
A. Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi offers perfect spaces for holding conventions, seminars, workshops, incentives, exhibitions, fashion shows, corporate parties, concerts. The hotel has six conference rooms, all with daylight. The size of the meeting rooms varies from 120m2 to 220m2 and can host up to 250. Not to mention our 800m2 ballroom, which is perfect for sporting events and exhibitions.
Also, if you are planning to celebrate your dream wedding party in a luxury ambiance, then our ballroom is the perfect place.
Our food and beverage department will guarantee delicious coffee breaks, mouthwatering desserts, and a variegated menu for lunch and dinner.Read more