Preparing Georgian SMEs for exporting to the EU

LTE training

EU4Business helps DCFTA Information Centre provide Georgian SMEs with knowledge of EU market requirements

Later this month, the EU4Business project “SME Development and DCFTA in Georgia” will mark one year since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI). The MoU laid the groundwork for cooperation on development of the Chamber’s institutional capacities and DCFTA related advisory and training services. The project, which is co-financed by the European Union and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, contributed to establishment of five DCFTA Information Centre offices across the country – one in Tbilisi and four in regions.

The establishment of DCFTA Info Centre offices is one of the Chamber’s key strategic goals, and one linked to the overall process of developing and refining the products and services that GCCI offers to SMEs. With the support of the project, GCCI is also in the process of integrating the EFQM Excellence Model into the operations of each DCFTA Information Centre. As part of this process, each office is led by one national long-term expert (LTE) who is contracted via the support of the EU4Business project.

The DCFTA Information Centre serves as an avenue for outreach and networking with local businesses, mostly SMEs, on issues pertaining to the free trade agreement between Georgia and the European Union. By means of the Centre, GCCI implements a set of measures aimed at raising awareness of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, as a part of Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU, among private sector players. These measures include awareness building, consultancy, referrals and trainings for SMEs on topics pertaining to the standards and requirements of the EU market.

Up and running

Today, the DCFTA Information Centre is up and running and providing support to Georgian companies looking to export their goods and services to the EU. ‘DCFTA Info Centre offices are playing an important role in helping Georgian SMEs develop through exports and in promoting Georgian products across the European market,’ says GCCI Deputy Director General Nato Chikovani.

The SME Development and DCFTA in Georgia project supports ongoing capacity building and development of services offered by the DCFTA Information Centre, including, through further trainings of LTEs (on AA/DCFTA related matters, effective communication, etc.) and by mobilising international expertise to advise on and support the development of additional services of the DCFTA Information Centre offices.

Within their first year of operation, the Info Centre offices have provided consultations, including via field meetings, to over 1 500 Georgian SMEs – a very impressive result. The LTEs have collected and analysed data from SMEs in order to identify their major challenges in adapting to the EU market requirements. This in turn will better position GCCI in developing the necessary services and solutions needed to help businesses overcome these challenges. These services will be made available via all DCFTA Information Centre offices.

“The DCFTA Info Centres organise at least 20 information sessions every month, with a minimum of four per regional office,” says Chikovani. “Based on the feedback provided by participants, the sessions and subsequent trainings and consultations are very much appreciated.”

More information

For more about the DCFTA Info Centres, please contact:

Dr Giorgi Vekua

Managing Director, DCFTA Info Centres

+99 532 269 47 47   

The "SME Development and DCFTA in Georgia" project is co-financed by the European Union and implemented by the Private Sector Development and TVET South Caucasus Programme at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project assists Georgian SMEs in becoming more competitive and adapt to the new regulatory environment created under the free trade agreement with the EU (DCFTA).