A Georgian Furniture Cluster – the first formally established business cluster in Georgia – was officially launched on 27 October in Tbilisi. The establishment and development of this cluster is supported by an EU-GIZ project on ‘SME Development and DCFTA in Georgia’ implemented under the EU4Business Initiative.
The Georgian Furniture Cluster (GFC) now connects 25 local SMEs in the sector of furniture production, who commit to working together to take advantage of market opportunities in Georgia and in Europe by achieving economies of scale. Specifically, GFC members commit to capacity building and development, establishment of a creative space through apprenticeship and competitions for young furniture designers, and internationalisation.
The launch event brought together representatives of government agencies, the EU Delegation, international donor community, business sector as well as other project partners and beneficiaries.
"Accelerating economic development is a priority for the EU in Georgia, and SMEs are a key focus in this effort,” said Vincent Rey, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation. “Since 2009 the EU has directly supported over 63,000 Georgian SMEs, and the furniture cluster presented today is an excellent and practical example of this. Our goal is for these and other similar efforts to ultimately result in more and better jobs for Georgians," he added.
The Head of the Georgian Furniture Cluster, Besik Verdzeuli, presented a brief overview of the state of the furniture industry in Georgia and outlined future plans for quality improvement and internationalisation.
His Bulgarian colleague, Genoveva Christova – an international expert and Head of the Bulgarian Furniture Cluster who is closely involved in development of the Georgian cluster – commented: “The furniture industry has all the right ingredients to become the new force in Georgian economy. Our goal is to turn the country’s human and natural resources into competitive advantage and internationalise it. To achieve this, we need to enhance synergies among furniture producers, creative and technical education institutions and those very talented designers I keep discovering with my every visit to Tbilisi. With all that in the basket and some encouragement of the policymakers, I believe Georgia will become the next European trendsetter for the region.”
The ‘SME Development and DCFTA in Georgia’ project assists Georgian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become more competitive and adapt to the new regulatory environment created under the free trade agreement with the EU (DCFTA).