Growth Hubs in Georgia
The Growth Hub (GH) project continued to be developed for some years and was supported by the several international organizations or projects.
The initial scope and concept of the GH was supported by the UNDP Georgia, which at that time was implementing the second phase of the project entitled “Fostering Regional and Local Development in Georgia” (FRLD 2). After discussing the scope and concept with Irakli Nadareishvili, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia (MoESD), and Tornike Zirakishvili, Deputy Director of LEPL Enterprise (EG), the project was considered exciting and moved to the next stage. With the initiation and support of the EG stakeholders mapping and action plan for the GH for Adjara region was financed under the USAID Economic Security Programme and the same scope for Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti was financed under the UNDP project "Fostering Regional and Local Development in Georgia, Phase 2" with the support of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia (MRDI), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).
As of now, both GHs in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and Adjara regions of Georgia are announced to be launched in summer 2023 followed by the expansion of the GH network in all regions and eventually the full coverage of Georgia.
We are honored to have been a part of the journey that brought the GH from concept to implementation.
How We Helped
|Before preparing the concept of Growth Hubs, international best practices were analyzed. With respect to governance and structure, the most relevant and optimal analogue was found to be in Great Britain. We also analyzed examples India, Latvia, and Australia. In some countries, a practice similar to a growth hub is not implemented at all, and in some countries the functions of growth hubs are attributable to their ministry of economy.|
Under the project “Fostering Regional and Local Development in Georgia” (FRLD 2) funded by UNDP, JSC SavvY developed the concept for the Growth Hubs. The studies conducted in the framework of the project revealed the importance of rural business development for economic growth of the regions of Georgia and factors preventing or contributing to this process. The results show the need of business support organization that will focus on researching the business environment and promoting local business development, that will be the bridge for rural businesses to find and access to intensive local support and advice where they have the opportunity, ambition and greatest potential to grow and scale-up. Although there is a business growth potential in regions of Georgia, the need and importance of support services for their growth and prosperity is crucial. Growth Hub may address all above mentioned issues. The main drive of GH is to be proactive and work closely with rural businesses to acts as a communicator and negotiator at a national level with government, advisers, businesses, academia and other target audience. GHs will be the bridge for rural businesses to access specialists in any field of development they need, including individual consultancy, exporting, accessing finance, trainings. Within the framework of the project, the SavvY team visited one of the Growth Hubs in the United Kingdom and gained firsthand knowledge of its scope of operation and structure.
Working on the Strategy and action plan of the GH in different regions of Georgia, as well as analyze the macroeconomic background and prepare stakeholders mapping was proceeded under the other two projects: stakeholders mapping and action plan for the GH for Adjara region was financed under the USAID Economic Security Programme and the same scope for Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti was financed under the UNDP project "Fostering Regional and Local Development in Georgia, Phase 2" with the support of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia (MRDI), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).
The scope of these two projects included preparing the concept of GH and conducting primary and secondary researches about the MSMEs attitudes, existence of local service providers and private sector development in target regions. Primary research included intensive face to face interviews and telephone surveys of MSMEs in the target region of Georgia. Secondary research was done to assess the level of private sector development in the target region of Georgia, specifically in the Samegrelo – Zemo Svaneti and to identify the sectors contributing most of all to the country’s GDP.
The concept and services and the governance structure was developed with the involvement of an international consultant from Great Britain who had more than 20 years of experience in GHs and who greatly contributed to the development of the strategy and action plan of the GH. The document summaries the market research of the Growth Hub stakeholders as well as the concept, strategy and action plan of the Growth Hub.
Impact and Potential
|Growth Hubs will assist MSMEs in attaining growth through various initiatives and services. Growth Hubs will act as conduits for rural firms to connect with specialists in a variety of sectors (e.g., exporting or access to finance) and formats (e.g., consultancy and training).|
GHs will serve as national communicators and negotiators with the government, advisers, corporations, academia, and others. Their suite of programs and services will be geared to help the main industry sector manage change, adapt to business challenges, increase profitability, and plan for the future. Along with group trainings, services will mostly entail individual consultations, face-to-face meetings, and individual growth and export plans are developed in partnership with government, industry specialists and experts, and other organizations that support regional development to assist the development of competitive, sustainable, and resilient rural businesses.
Physical, regional branches of the "Enterprise Georgia" agency will be established, with the goal of assisting local enterprises. The hub will feature support consulting and other service providers to network with local MSMEs and assist in building the fundamental skills of entrepreneurs in the region.
This will also in part support the development of consulting businesses in the regions, with the agency becoming a partner for them on the local level and a facilitator for entrepreneurs to provide those services through the GH that MSMEs seek to receive.
As a result, the Growth Hub will assist the development of rural/local MSMEs, facilitating local economic growth and prosperity across the country.
See article about our project