2017-2019: “Georgia on European Way: Creation of Effective Model for DCFTA and SME Strategy Implementation”
2017-2019: ABCO, within the consortium of International and local partners (leading partner “Eastern  Europe Studies Centre” (EESC) - Lithuania), “Georgian Institute of Politics”(Georgia), Globsec (Slovakia) and Young Scientists  Union  "Intellect"(Georgia),  took active role in the development and implementation of the EU/EC funded project - “Georgia on European Way: Creation of Effective Model for DCFTA and SME Strategy Implementation”  which provided for strengthening the capacities of Georgian CSOs and BSOs along the implementation process of the “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area” (DCFTA) agreement signed between Georgia and European Union and along the implementation of the SME strategy for Georgia. The project covered 53 municipalities in all Georgian regions and Ajara Autonomous republic. The  project   activities   were based   on  three  specific  objectives,   which  determine the  role  of Georgian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Business Support Organizations (BSOs) as primary  participants and later partners  of the project: - a) Increasing CSOs  role when  raising  public awareness,  understanding and   support  for   DCFTA implementation in Georgia; b) Building capacities of Georgian CSOs  to assist and  consult local  SMEs  on accessing the EU internal market and  benefiting from it; c) Developing  comprehensive monitoring and advise-based cooperation between the public, civil and private sectors, through establishing of the regional level Local Advisory Councils (LACs) comprised of representatives of local self-governments and state institutions/agencies, CSOs and BSOs) and private business/SMEs sector as well as of National level Central Advisory Council (CAC). ABCO actively participated in all the activities and processes under the project, particularly taking the lead in number of it significant components. Specifically, ABCO carried out the following works:    Conducted Survey on “DCFTA Related Mapping of Georgian SMEs and CSOs - Awareness and Involvement of Georgian Small and Medium Enterprises and Civil Society in Implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU”, Survey covered 61 municipalities within 10 regions of Georgia In total, 168 CSOs/BSOs and 559 SMEs/Sole Entrepreneurs were surveyed, profiled and mapped in scope of these works, through quantitative methods and application of all the appropriate methodologies and tools (desk research, field research through face to face interviews using semi-structured questionnaires, telephone inquiries, etc.) and were evaluated in accordance with the goals and objectives of the project and against the defined survey parameters. ABCO actively led the project activities under the important project component concerning the establishment of the Regional LACs), (leading the process in the 6 regions of Georgia) as well as of a National level CAC.  ABCO organized the scheduled LAC /CAC meetings and facilitated to the working process and discussions among the participant parties for the purpose to identify, analyze and evaluate problems/challenges and development potential existing at the district/regional levels, define the sectors/sub-sectors of economic activity having the most potential for successful development of export-oriented production/services to serve the overall socio-economic development and based on this, provide the local and central governments with the relevantly formulated strategy recommendations for their consideration to further make relevant decisions and introduce potential responsive measures;   ABCO was also thoroughly engaged in works for the development of the project’s comprehensive document – “Georgia’s DCFTA Communication Toolkit -What is the DCFTA and how can Georgian SMEs access the EU single market?” designed  for application as a training tool for local CSO/BSOs in their activities aimed at increasing the level of awareness among local SMEs about the possibilities offered by the  DCFTA as well as a reference source for relevant practical information and guidelines about the EU’s procedures, requirements and standards which are necessary to be met by Georgian SMEs wishing to access the unified EU markets with their export-oriented products. The completed Toolkit is currently available for accessing through the ABCO’s indicated website.   In scope of the project, ABCO also conducted the evaluation and selection of Sub-Grant applications submitted by the regional CSOs and BSOs in scope of the project’s sub-grant component which provided for supporting the selected group of CSOs/BSOs operating in the different regions, who proposed projects that facilitated to promotion of the DCFTA implementation process in Georgia.
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