Despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Women Business Council in Georgia (WBCG) is still going to implement new projects that will be targeted not only at the capital city of Tbilisi but at the regions of Georgia as well.
Chairwoman of WBCG Natia Meparishvili announced that one project which will be implemented soon is ‘Women Talk’, which is an online platform dedicated to women entrepreneurs working in different fields of the Georgian economy.
The platform will give them an opportunity to share their experience and help each other in building their own careers and success stories.
The second one is a regional project whose main goal is to help farmers and strengthen women’s role in the regions and develop innovative technologies there.
“After all, I mean postponed conferences, forums and training due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we must continue to implement the set plans by overcoming the current challenges and transforming them into a new opportunity.
“’Women Talk’ is one of the projects that was planned to be implemented but was suspended due to the pandemic. Now we think that the positive impact of this project will be significant for women regardless of activities, opportunities and interests”, Meparishvili said.
Meparishvili said that as part of the second project the WBCG is holding negotiations with the regional governments to implement a women’s empowerment project.
“This is not an easy process, and we hope that we will soon be able to approach the implementation stage directly”, Meparishvili said.
The WBCG is a membership-based non-profit organization founded in May 2015, and works with women from diverse communities locally and regionally and delivers a broad range of services that inspire participants to become economically active and personally fulfilled.
Q. Last year we spoke about WBCG’s plans to become more active in the regions of Georgia and support women’s regional businesses in the country. But the pandemic hampered the organization’s ability to fulfill this plan and you postponed the project for a year. Has work progressed during the past year?
A. Yes, the pandemic hampered us in our ability to complete this plan, but we managed to still have a little progress in this direction.
We went through the first stage, which is to start communication and to present our goals to regional governments and partner organizations.
We have also started activities to implement various innovative projects for the farmers in the regions which aim to help them sell their produce and make them popular among customers.
Our plans also included creating a platform for unique creative industries: ‘Digital Exhibition Week of Women in Art’. This annual international event was supported by Creative Europe representation in Georgia, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia and Tbilisi City Hall.
Within the project, female artists from all over Georgia would gather in one space and talk, establish business relations with each other, as well as acquire the necessary ‘art business’ skills.
We tried to spread information about the project in the regions. Almost all regional self-governments involved in the field of culture and art organizations and cultural centers, as well as private institutions with an oriented art profile, were involved in the informative campaign.
The project mission is to create a global platform from which female artists are given an opportunity to show their artwork to a wide audience, and contribute to the developing exchange of ideas.
The main goal of our project is to provide access to the works of women artists and to promote their economic empowerment.
Our project aims to create a database of women artists and an international professional network that enables professional, amateur and novice/student female artists to integrate into the international art space, to communicate with colleagues via the Internet, to introduce their work to a wider public, and to manage their creative careers.
This will be an international, annual exhibition.
In total 200 Georgian women artists will present their artwork in front of a very large audience in the digital space. May 27 will be the opening day of the week, which runs until June 2. A very interesting voyage awaits art lovers, collectors, industry professionals, gallery owners and artists themselves in the digital space.
Q. How many new businesses in the arts were created during the pandemic year and how many were closed?
A. I remember small start-ups mainly in the field of handicrafts, the manufacture of jewelry and handbags that were created within the last year.
It has been a very painful year in economic terms, and especially for small and medium-sized businesses. We know that women are mainly involved in small and medium-sized businesses in our country.
We all try to find ways to maintain and stimulate existing businesses. The small farming sector has really experienced growth, although it is too early to talk in economic terms as less than a year has passed.
Q. As for the council itself, do you have new members and from which fields are they?
A. Yes, we have new members and mainly from the field of creative industries.
As for all our existing members, we have retained their membership status without an annual fee because we believe that the fee should not be fixed at this transitional stage.
This is the least we can do for our members.