Norwegian MFA and UN Women visit inspiring businesswomen in Georgia

Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Female entrepreneurs showcased their businesses during a joint visit by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and UN Women to western Georgia.

Ketevan Tomeishvili, a cucumber farmer in Vani, is one of the women entrepreneurs who has expanded her production since joining the JAWE project
Ketevan Tomeishvili, a cucumber farmer in Vani, is one of the women entrepreneurs who has expanded her production since joining the JAWE project; Photo: UN Women

The visited women have been supported by UN Women’s project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia” (JAWE) funded by the Norwegian MFA. The three-day tour began on 20 May 2019 in Tbilisi with an event that concluded the project’s trainings on social media marketing and website development. Hosted by Avtandil Kasradze, Chair of Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency, the event gathered some 100 participants, including most of the 116 trainees. Twenty-one companies are interested in providing internships for the graduates.

The visit continued to western Georgia, including Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Laituri, Vani, Dimi and Obcha. The visited entrepreneurs work in sectors ranging from hospitality to winemaking and farming. They explained that since completing the trainings and receiving grants from the JAWE project, they have increased their production. Several entrepreneurs have even employed new staff members.

In Laituri, a village of about 1,200 families, four women received grants from the project in 2018. The grants have been used to start new businesses that have brought a breath of fresh air to the village, including the village’s first bakery, a café and a mushroom cellar. During a meeting with women’s groups in Laituri, the local government announced they will invest GEL 6,200 to renovate the Laituri meeting room used for the women’s meetings. With grant application support from UN Women’s partner TASO Foundation, the space has already received two laptops and furniture from the International Women’s Association Georgia.

Members of women’s groups in Laituri said that they were inspired by the successes of the women who had established new businesses in the village
Members of women's groups in Laituri said that they were inspired by the successes of the women who had established new businesses in the village; Photo: UN Women

Kerstin Agneta Wahlberg, Advisor at the Norwegian MFA, commented on the benefits of the trip: “Norway has had a long and good cooperation with UN Women Georgia, and joining a field trip like this gives us the opportunity to get closer to the project. We were truly inspired by the strong, creative and skilled women that we met. It was clear that the trainings they had attended gave them useful knowledge. We also saw how small grants were invested in needed equipment that made many of them able to increase their income.”

Many of the visited women commended the hands-on support provided by the Academy of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia, the Georgian Farmers’ Association and TASO Foundation, UN Women’s key partners in the project. The project will continue supporting women’s economic empowerment in Georgia throughout 2020.