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Good Neighbors – Connected Businesses

As part of the project “Young Entrepreneurship Synergy – Network for Georgia-Azerbaijan Cross-Border Cooperation,” the Civil Development Agency (CiDA), a civil society organization (CSO), organized a two-day agro and cultural tour in the regions of Kakheti and Kvemo Kartli in Georgia.

The delegation from Azerbaijan included entrepreneurs and representatives from CSOs and self-government bodies visited small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs in said regions and became acquainted with their businesses and market opportunities.  The goal of the tour was to strengthen cooperation and business relations between selected adjacent regions of Georgia (Kvemo Kartli, Kakheti) and Azerbaijan (Gazakh, Ganja) through social and cultural interaction.

The first destination of the tour was the Public VET College “Aisi” where the delegation met with managers of the center and were informed about their activities, particularly about the professional programs they offer to local students and the entrepreneur activities they carry out on a daily basis.

Sisters return to their home village to launch wine tourism business

In the village of Akhalsopeli in Kvareli municipality, three sisters run a small business; they have created an open space in their house – wine year #1 – which is a tourist attraction that includes a traditional wine cellar, house, and yard.

“Our family used to be wine makers and we have grown up in the environment of a traditional Kakhetian family. We are three sisters and left our village after graduating from school. In recent years we saw potential and thought we could do much more with our house. We decided to come back here and arrange an open, pleasant space for tourists and visitors so they can fully enjoy and value their stay in Kakheti,” said one of the sisters (founders) Tika Dughashvili.

The Dughashvilis welcomed the delegation to their wine cellar and revealed the motivation behind their start-up business and the challenges they faced.

“It was a challenging step but we are happy that we came back to our village and let our guests enjoy their stay here. We opened recently and to our surprise the flow of tourists has not stopped; we host tourists daily from different countries, which motivates us to do more and offer better service for the season ahead,” added Tika.

The delegation from Azerbaijan expressed its interest in: how the start-up grew into a successful business; what needs to be considered if opening a similar business in a similar location; and how they may cooperate to attract more visitors from both countries.

New opportunities, new trade markets

The final destination for the delegation’s visit was Aroma Wine Cellar (AWC) in Sartichala, a town situated a few kilometers from Tbilisi. AWC was founded about 10 years ago and its products, most of which are exported, include churchkhela, tea and other delights which are produced using natural ingredients.

Head of the Azerbaijani delegation Ramil Goyushov said that the tour taught him and the rest of the delegation some valuable lessons. “We spent a very fruitful couple of days in Georgia and now we leave this beautiful country full of new ideas and offers which will be beneficial for people from both countries. This is very important for us to strengthen business cooperation with our Georgian friends and share experience with each other,” said Goyushov.

Nino Chitorelidze, Project Manager of the CiDA, described the event as “mutually beneficial” and said that CiDA will continue its efforts to connect businesses from both countries to boost local enterprise. “Thanks to our colleagues from Azerbaijan who expressed so much interest in coming here and getting acquainted with Georgian businesses. Our project is full of joint activities with our counterparts in Azerbaijan and we really hope that as neighboring nations we can find common interest in running their own businesses,” said Chitorelidze.

The next agro and cultural tour will be held in Azerbaijan at the end of October and Georgian businesses and CSOs are invited to attend.

The project „Young Entrepreneurship Synergy (YES) – Network for Georgia Azerbaijan Cross border cooperation”   is implemented by Civil Development Agency (CiDA) in Georgia and West Resource Public Union (WRPU) In Azerbaijan.  The project is co-funded by the European Union within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation (EaPTC).