Exploring Social Enterprise in Georgia
WISE Gender Specialist Federica Busiello and WISE Director Dinah Bennett recently traveled to Georgia to conduct a strategic review of a social enterprise programme. Here is Federica’s account of the visit….
Did you know? The Georgian alphabet is unique in the world and has 33 phonemes (5 vowels and 28 consonants). An example: საქართველო (pronounced sak’art’velo or Georgia in English). Learn more here
As a keen supporter of the social enterprise sector, I jumped at the opportunity to travel to Georgia for a review of a social enterprise programme. After a brief transfer at snowed under Kiev, I landed in somewhat less snowy Tbilisi for a week of interviews and workshops with WISE Director Dinah, and our Georgian researcher, Natia.
This was primarily a strategic review and we spent our time talking to key players in the sector, including some amazing social enterprises working in the city of Tbilisi – woodworking company Arbo, market linkage for local agricultural products Biovel, co-working space and bar Generator 9.8, and others.
We learnt a lot about this nascent but promising sector and are currently providing recommendations to our client, Georgian NGO Europe Foundation, so that they can continue supporting the growth of social entrepreneurship in the country. Dinah is also working on a tool to support Georgian social enterprises to mainstream gender at all stages of business development from design/start-up to implementation and evaluation.
Having the opportunity to travel with a colleague has been great for learning and has allowed us to discuss findings and ideas straight away, plus, it’s always more fun to have company!
We also had the chance to spend some time sightseeing, and made sure we tasted various Georgian dishes – great food, usually covered in cheese, or walnuts, or both!