3-4 February 2021 - With the support of the EU, Keda and Khulo LAGs held Upper Adjara Business Forum “Invest in Mountainous Ajara”. The event was organised in the framework of the EU-funded ENPARD projects “Keda LEADER” and “ENPARD Khulo” by the implementing organisations CENN and Caritas Czech Republic.
The Business Forum aimed to help local entrepreneurs expand business networks, support economic diversification and stimulate investments and innovations in Mountainous Adjara. The event focused on two main themes - Agriculture and Tourism – and entailed panel discussions and business to business (B2B) meetings.
The event was opened by the Minister of Agriculture of Ajara, Giorgi Surmanidze, Programme Manager for Rural Development, Civil Protection and Crisis Management at the EU Delegation to Georgia, Ketevan Khutsishvili, CENN Executive Director, Nana Janashia, Head of Mission of Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia, Jan Blinka.
During the forum, the participants had an opportunity to meet innovative and successful businesses in the tourism and agriculture sectors in Upper Ajara. The economic potential, opportunities, and challenges were also discussed during the event.
“Ajara is one of the target regions of the EU’s rural development programme. We work together with the government of Ajara, partners and local civil society organizations to create new economic opportunities, increase employment and promote economic diversification in rural areas. More importantly, the aim is to make these new opportunities sustainable that will continue to function beyond the EU funded programmes” – stated Ketevan Khutsishvili.
“The Keda LEADER project has been successful in promoting inclusive rural growth and improving the well-being of rural communities via the implementation of innovative approaches, which generated diverse employment opportunities. The aim of the business forum is to to stimulate investments and business partnerships, which will contribute to strengthening the local economic activities.” – Nana Janashia, CENN Executive Director.
The event was attended by local entrepreneurs, leading businesses in both sectors, international organisations and representatives of the government. A facilitated networking also took place within the forum, where companies and the audience members had an opportunity to register for the evening networking session and present their work to the ENPARD beneficiries. Several companies registered such as TBC and Georgian Travel Guide and presented new opportunities to the beneficiaries.
Due to the restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the event took place online via “Invest in Mountainous Ajara” zoom platform and Keda LAG facebook.
The project, Keda Leader, is implemented with the financial support from the EU by CENN in partnership with the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG), Institute of Democracy (IoD) and the Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and Spatial Planning (ÖIR).
Starting from June 2017, Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia (CCRG) with the support EU, in partnership with Croatian Rural Development Network (HMRR) and PMC Research Center, is implementing project “Rural Development and Diversification in Khulo Municipality” in Khulo municipality.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million (2013-2022). The main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge