EU4Business and its Clusters4Development (C4D) project have helped the Georgian brand Kombinizona to develop a truly innovative business model and to expand its business during the COVID-19 crisis. The company produces therapeutic clothing based on precise colour perceptions for women, teens, children and people with disabilities.
Launched in 2017 with a single borrowed sewing machine and a small showroom, in 2020 the enterprise bought 19 sewing machines with EU support, expanded production capacity, launched a second protective clothing brand and swiftly started production of facemasks, robes and coveralls at affordable prices.
During the pandemic, the company expanded its staff to 70 tailors, half of them people with disabilities, who are employed remotely. To respond effectively to the countrywide shortage of medical gear, Kombinizona launched the #1yours1mine campaign, channelling 30% of its income to charity.
“The EU support helped us in procuring equipment, so the production did not have to stop, and we employed more people, produced more PPE, distributed lots of free masks, and ultimately contributed to helping the country overcome the crisis,” says Gano Melitauri, Kombinizona’s founder.
During the pandemic, assistance from EU4Business and GIZ, which implements the C4D project, also helped to buy necessary equipment for another apparel brand, Doctor Goods, the only company in Georgia that specialises in making sterile and non-sterile single-use medical textiles for surgical procedures and post-operative care.
In order for Doctor Goods to increase its production capacity and meet the high demand for these products during the crisis, C4D provided funding for the procurement of 12 new sewing machines for the company, which allowed it to produce 40,000 medical gowns in a week’s time. Overall, the EU project has helped 40 partner entrepreneurs in the garment industry with guidance on how to pursue commercial activities and remain operational.
The Clusters4Development project is funded by the EU and the German government. It stimulates and supports development of business clusters in three sectors: apparel, construction materials and tourism. The project also works with the government for an improved institutional framework for cluster and business development. The project is implemented under the EU4Business initiative of the European Union.
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