Women Business Council of Georgia Prioritizes Training, Community Engagement in 2024

The Women Business Council of Georgia, a membership-based non-profit organization that delivers a broad range of services to inspire women to become economically pro-active and personally fulfilled, has prioritized training and experience-sharing this year, as well as introducing its members to the wider community.

“Our members represent various sectors, and their number is increasing significantly, which brings us great joy,” Natia Meparishvili, the Executive Director of the Council, told Golden Brand.

During an interview about the significance of supporting the business sector in the country, with a special focus on female entrepreneurs, Meparishvili said it was a “great honor” for her to be a co-founder of an organization that has been engaged in the economic empowerment of women for many years.

“Despite requiring a lot of effort, the act of speaking out about needs, desires, and statistics creates new opportunities for others. Moreover, the Council helps in forming a group of women who support and empower each other by sharing their experiences and failures. We welcome everyone to join us and be a part of our community. Our doors are always open!”, she said.

Q. The Women Business Council in Georgia is supporting the Golden Brand Awards again this year. To start off, can you please tell us why you believe it is important for businesses to support events like this?

A. Our organization has been cooperating with the Golden Brand Awards for over a decade.

Our Council was established in 2015, and we were among the first to organize an annual conference for women entrepreneurs in partnership with the USAID’s Governance for Development program. At the time, it was a new initiative aimed at promoting women entrepreneurs.

The NGO sector, particularly those organizations representing businesses, plays a crucial role in incentivizing business measures, which also serve to recognize the success of companies and enhance consumers’ trust in the local market. You know how important it is for a company to receive recognition in a specific field.

Q. What kind of support do you think is crucial for businesses in Georgia today?

A. In today’s era of globalization, businesses aim to create partnerships with foreign investors and expand beyond their national borders. This presents a unique opportunity for developing countries like Georgia. To succeed, businesses require a conducive environment, infrastructure, business-oriented regulations, and state support programs. Smal-l and medium-sized enterprises are particularly sensitive to these factors. A comfortable business environment is created by several key aspects, one of which is a stable political climate. The country’s image and interest from foreign investors are directly tied to political stability.

I would like to emphasize the significance of encouraging women’s participation in social and economic activities. Gender equality plays a crucial role in strengthening the economy of any country. According to data from the World Bank, there would be an average of 15% increase in economic growth if there were proportional growth in women’s economic participation.

Women are primarily involved in micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses, with most of them being self-employed. In order to support these women, it is crucial to provide them with better access to finance, customized educational and entrepreneurial programs, and consistent stimulation at the social and political levels. It is also important to establish supportive legislation for female entrepreneurs.         

Q. What benefits does EU candidate status hold for businesses, and what steps should local companies take to prepare for membership?

A. It is crucial and promising for our country to receive EU membership candidate status. Although candidacy does not involve any monetary funds for the country, it implies new perspectives and other benefits, especially for the private sector.

These benefits include increased authority of the country towards Commonwealth nations, more monitoring, and implementation of reforms at various legislative levels. Obtaining candidate status is the first signal for international business to have more trust and interest in the country and increased protection, which follows the process of image formation of the stable state.

Additionally, it will significantly increase the quality, regulation, and monitoring of production.

Q. What significant events and achievements did the organization experience in 2023 and what new partnerships did you form with other countries’ female entrepreneurs?

A. 2023 was an exceptional year for our organization, marked by new projects, collaborations, and events. Two grants were awarded to the organization, one of which included support for the development of its capacity. In addition, a new supervisory board was appointed, and a management structure was established with the help of American experts to increase efficiency.

In December 2023 the organization hosted the largest conference of women’s support associations, funded by the American government and attended by representatives from 21 countries, including Central Asia and Europe.

Our Council’s priority is to foster collaboration between female entrepreneurs and representatives from other countries. To this end, two partners have already signed a memorandum of cooperation. The first was with the Ukrainian businesswomen platform, and the second was with an Azerbaijani organization of female entrepreneurs, which included a business forum that took place in March 2024. The business forum was attended by delegations from Azerbaijan and Georgia’s women entrepreneurs.

This year, the annual conference for women entrepreneurs has resumed after a gap of four years. This platform is of great importance as it summarizes the past year and the women’s month. The Council of Women Entrepreneurs in Georgia has expanded, offering its members various programs and consulting support. The organization is open for membership to everyone engaged in economic activity who wants to develop and strengthen their skills.