Foreign Experts See Better Economic Environment
20 September, 2012
Foreign Experts See Better Economic Environment

Georgia hosts 14 BSEC member countries at Radisson

On September 12-14, Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel served as the venue of international workshop on Innovative Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which was held by Konrad Adenauer Foundation together with the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

The first day was open for the press. It was opened by Dr. Colin Durkop, Head of Konrad Adenauer Foundation office in Ankara, Turkey. “Innovative entrepreneurship and sustainable development

have become major areas of interest for policy makers in the BSEC Region as a prerequisite for economic well-being. This international workshop brings together experts from all BSEC member countries to discuss ways and means of how to promote innovative entrepreneurship in the Region,” he said.

First Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Irakli Matkava, Permanent International Secretariat of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation as well as the representatives from  Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia and Turkey participated in the opening part of the workshop.  “I am very glad to welcome this workshop. Besides the local importance, this project has an importance  of regional cooperation. Georgia is trying to be a good neighbor and partner to all the countries in the region and we are doing our best to strengthen all these relations. We also believe that the stronger our neighbors are, the stronger Georgia will be, so in that sense it is very important for us that the Black Sea region develops as quickly as possible. In that sense I want to say thanks to Permanent Secretariat of BSEC and Kornad Adenauer Foundation for organizing this event. We have on our agenda to facilitate the work of an entrepreneur, make it easier to start a business and make it easier to develop it. We have achieved quite a progress, for example, in terms of per capita rate of starting up new businesses. At the same time, though, the challenges are growing. So, in that sense, I think this particular workshop will contribute to all our efforts.”

Giorgi Pertaia, President of Georgian National Investment Agency, said: “We have made several steps towards SMEs. We introduced the fixed tax; it is the only tax that SME shall pay; they are free from other taxes. The registration has become much easier. You can register your company in about two hours, while you have a cup of coffee. But we know that we should go further and there are a lot more things to do.”

Dr. Colin Durkop, Head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation office in Ankara, Turkey: “We have a long-term relationship with the Permanent Secretariat of Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, which is headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey. Jointly, we organize every year the conference on the topic of strengthening the small and medium-scale enterprises in the BSEC region. Each year, different member country is hosting it and this year, we chose Georgia. It is the second time here and it is particularly important because this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Black Sea economic Cooperation. This is a very auspicious occasion to have it here in a very dynamic city of Tbilisi, as you can see the developments when you come back here after quite a few years. I mean the new streets, buildings and quite a good state of affairs of economy. It is not perfect, but I see quite an improvement. It is important for the governments of BSEC region to create the framework conditions and good environment for the SMEs to prosper – this is their usual duty. We are here, the group of about 35 experts from all the BSEC countries. Half of them are representing the government sector, which are the policy makers, and the others are either entrepreneurs or the NGOs.

Dr. Canan Atilgan, Head of the South Caucasus office of Konrad Adenauer Foundation: “We have a regional program. We are based in Tbilisi, but we have offices in Baku and Yerevan. It’s a program on political dialogue, which has national components but also regional components, so we try to strengthen the regional cooperation and collaboration. But while doing this, we notice that the European integration process is a very uniting issue for these three countries. So, in all these three countries there is an aspiration to approach the European structures. We are European institution, so we use our accesses for contributing to the integration questions. Of course, there is a technical integration part with association agreement and deep and comprehensive free-trade area, but what we do is enhancing the dialogue among the countries in the region and at the same time with the European counterparts on civil society level, on private level, on public level. Konrad Adenauer Foundation is globally active foundation with over 80 offices. We are just happy that this event takes place in Georgia. It’s a symbolic year for BSEC. It’s important for Georgia too as it is in just pre-election period. Georgia has a very dedicated foreign policy directed to European integration and for Georgia Black Sea region is more important than South Caucasus because the Black Sea is EU also, and in the BSEC council there are European Union member states. Georgia is still a transitional democracy, but I believe that it is on its way to overcome this period and become a sustainable democracy.”

The representatives of Governmental and Non-governmental organizations from around 14 countries addressed the global challenges regarding the development of SMEs and presented the strategies of their countries in this regard.

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