A total of 27 youth, social and green business ideas from Georgia and Armenia have received EU grants under the Caucasus Social Innovation Grant Competition at an award ceremony in Tbilisi on 8 October. The competition was funded under the EU4Youth programme.
The beneficiary enterprises from Georgia and Armenia will develop initiatives in areas including sustainable waste management, ecotourism, agriculture, eco-manufacturing, and healthcare.
The Caucasus Social Innovation Grant Competition funds social and green business ideas in border communities in Georgia and Armenia, and is aimed at young people aged 18-29, vulnerable groups living in rural areas, eco-migrants and ethnic minorities.
“The green and social component is very important for the European Union. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the winning entrepreneurs and I’m very happy that with our help, these young entrepreneurs have been able to achieve their goals,” said Nino Samvelidze, Youth Programme Manager at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia.
One of the winners was CHAMPY, a pioneering company of healthy apple chips, which now combines 12 types of products. The enterprise operates near the line of occupation in Gori, one of the project’s target municipalities. “The support of the EU was very important to us because we wanted to increase the scale of production. This project helped us in the process of acceleration both in the better formation of the social and environmental mission and in the diversification of production through the allocation of financial resources,” said Tamar Sheitnishvili, Co-founder of CHAMPY.
As part of the project, the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) worked with the participants through a comprehensive business acceleration programme, to identify and develop business projects that had a clear social and environmental mission, as well as a viable business model.
The Award Ceremony was organised as part of the EU-funded project ‘EU4Youth: Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development (SEED) for Green Growth’, implemented by CENN in partnership with KRDF and Green Lane (Armenia). The aim of the project is to discover the entrepreneurial potential in the most vulnerable municipalities and to promote entrepreneurship opportunities among youth.
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