USAID Zrda – Regional Youth Entrepreneurship Program

Donor: USAID
Start/End date: Winter 2018 – Spring 2020
Location: Zugdidi, Borjomi, Aspindza, Adigeni, Ninotsminda, Marneuli, Bolnisi, Kaspi, and Gori

USAID Zrda Activity is a five-year program designed to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in target regions by improving MSME growth, increasing productivity of rural households, facilitating market linkages between producers and buyers and promote local economic development by establishing and strengthening networks. As a result, Zrda will create jobs and increase sales for MSMEs and incomes for households, bolstering the resilience and livelihoods of the target communities. Zrda targets communities in proximity to the administrative boundary lines and communities with ethnic minority populations.

USAID Zrda’s youth component – the Regional Youth Entrepreneurship Program implemented by the Association Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG) aims at strengthening rural youth through entrepreneurship. All in all, 5 hundred young people (age of 18-29) living in the 9 target municipalities will be engaged in the project. The training sessions will be implemented based on the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s (UNIDO) entrepreneurial-training manual.

After the first stage, the project participants will be required to present their business ideas related to Agriculture, Tourism, Innovations/Technologies and Creative Industries. Within the second stage, the authors of 15 entrepreneurial ideas or the group of authors will be invited to the boot camp where during 6-7 days they will have an opportunity to attend the intensive training sessions and work on turning their own ideas into the business projects. On the final stage, the Grant Selection Committee will select at least 3 winner business projects eligible for funding with the maximum amount of 10 000 GEL per project.

Within the I phase of the program held from June to September 2019, 5 winner projects were eventually selected and awarded grants: GEL 10 000, GEL 6 000, GEL 6 462, GEL 3 000, and GEL 3 600. The Program winners introduced the projects from agriculture and creative industries, such as production of rye and buckwheat bread and biscuits in Gori; production of succulent plants in Zugdidi; support to production of traditional Georgian folk instruments in Kaspi; production of piquant jams in Aspinda and support to small sewing shop in Adigeni.

As for the II phase of the program held from September to December 2019, 5 winner projects were selected from the following municipalities: Kaspi – Iron Man (iron engraved crafts) – GEL 10 000, Kaspi – Ready to Light (electrical service) – GEL 5 000, Bolnisi – Nail Salon – GEL 3 700, Gori – Production of Apple Vinegar – GEL 6 400, and Zugdidi – Ra Vachuko (online platform) – GEL 9 835.

The key outputs of the project:

  • At least 5 hundred rural youth will undergo entrepreneurship trainings.
  • At least 5 new enterprise will be established, 25 people will be employed.

Contact person
Revaz Javelidze – Networking/ Youth Engagement Team Leader, RDFG