Georgia Opens for Business
GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS INFORMATION CENTER IS ALREADY A SUCCESS
“The staff in this office will provide all investors with appropriate information, answer their questions, and explain everything in detail. Our aim is to attract and support any investor interested in our country,” said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili at the opening of the Business Information Center on May 25, 2006. The business information center has served more than 150 potential investors – both foreign and local – in its first two months of operation.
The center, established by the Georgian National Investment Agency in cooperation with the city of Tbilisi, and supported by USAID’s Business Climate Reform project is a “one-stop shop” for investors, providing comprehensive information about how to do business in Georgia. The center also fields questions on investment opportunities, privatization, tax and customs, licensing and permitting, and property issues.
The city of Tbilisi provided office space at City Hall and has three economic development specialists working with the business information center team, assuring coverage of both urban and rural areas. The center also operates a new business information hotline to answer inquiries (+995 32 933 095).
American investor Matt Bartelsian planned to open a new juice factory in Armenia until a colleague referred him to the Georgian government’s new business information center.
Now, said Bartelsian, “I've committed to Georgia and I’m working on my investors.” Business information center staff, he said, “have been invaluable in selling me on Georgia. They have been proactive in answering my questions and helping me network with a broad range of people.”
Based on Bartelsian’s experience, the business information center is already having impact. “The perception that the business information center has given me is that my investment is not only wanted, but that Georgia is going to bend over backwards to ensure that all structural and regulatory preconditions for success exist. I can't think of another developing country anywhere else in the world where this is the case,” said Bartelsian.
Another foreign investor called the business information center and asked whether he can own land in Georgia. Advised that he could, he quickly made a purchase in Batumi.
“Everything we do is designed to help investors understand how open Georgia is for business,” said Merab Lominadze, Director of the Georgian National Investment Agency “. He says that the center will also be a forum for discussion between the public and private sectors.
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