The FINANCIAL — The number of individual business enterprises is rising day by day reaching 67% from the total number of legal business entities in Georgia. Out of those businesses, homepreneurs account for the largest share running their businesses right from their home.
According to Geostat there are 294,334 registered enterprises in Georgia. 197,392 of them are individual entrepreneurs. They benefit from lower taxes and risks and in some cases have twice larger turnover than large scale companies. Trade, export of wine, citruses, nuts, and flowers are the main businesses of homepreneurs.
The FINANCIAL interviewed the best small size Ind. enterprises which were nominated by the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia (ICC). On 20 of May ICC will hold an awarding ceremony to those businesses who performed the best in their field. There will be 4 nominations out of which grand prizes together with diplomas will be given to the winners. The event will be hosted by the TBC Bank conference hall.
“I started my business in 1996, since then I have been a farmer. Cattle-breeding, growing plants such as wheat, sunflowers, barley, and plural oats are the typical activities that I oversee everyday with the help of 15 other farmers. At first, the land I used for my business was around my home but it was not large enough to have large yield from the beginning so gradually I rented land on a lease, 130 hectares of arable land and 150 hectares more later. Currently I’m not exporting my farm’s production and I just sell it on the domestic market but when I have more land and inputs I’ll diversify my marketing strategies so that more people will be able to buy naturally grown products. Speaking frankly my business totally depends on weather conditions but despite the difficulties associated with bad weather I have turnover of 30,000-50,000 GEL a year. In addition I plan to expand and employ more people as the land in Dedoplistskaro is very fertile,” said Besik Tichishvili, 56 year old farmer.
“My business is about metalware that is to say I buy different metal materials and then produce machine components/parts and different types of tools like screw-nuts, bolts, and various spare parts for automobiles,” said Roman Sulamanidze, Director of company Argus based in Kutaisi.
“Georgian companies quite often order materials they need for their businesses and then some part of our production goes to export markets. It was in 1999 when I first started selling scrap-irons and some metal works from which I got 800 GEL.”
“At that time we were in the Avangardi factory and finally moved to Riv. Rioni surroundings. Total turnover is about 33,000-40,000 GEL but we also depend on a number of orders for instance in the winter of last year Energo-Pro leading electric company needed some materials for which they paid 8,000 GEL. Also Chiatura’s Marganetsi also purchased our works totalling up to 7,000 GEL so it’s quite a profitable business. Our ready-made metal works are mainly sold on the domestic market. As for exports we do it with Azerbaijan and plan to expand our network soon. In Tbilisi we mainly sell on Kharfugi’s market,” said Sulamanidze.
Apart from the overwhelming majority of individual enterprises there are home-based entrepreneurs distinguished as smart and savvy people who just sit on their computers at home and make money utilizing social media/networking.
The internet has opened a whole realm of opportunities to those enterprising enough to take advantage of it. Some of the common services include Web-designing, advertising, administering web-sites, online store (e-commerce), e-teaching, and consulting.
Giorgi Goderdzishvili, 30, made his first internet website 4 years ago. Now he is a homepreneur.
“The first website was done by rebuilding open-source products. But none of those systems worked well, requiring a lot of resources and was very inconvenient so I decided to work with a content management system and soon understood this job wasn’t as easy as it seemed so I started looking for a partner who could help me in this regard,” said Goderdzishvili.
“To tell the truth it was a very tough job to find a person of that kind, but finally I found Irakli. So now I basically work on designing templates and the conceptual part while Irakli makes web-applications related to servers. And for our websites to be more interactive we work on them together, sharing our ideas to make them more attractive.”
“To tell the truth we actually started from scratch just upgrading/adding some applications and devices to our computers in order to make them work faster and then having attained hosting for our first drafted web-sites. Frankly speaking all of this work was done at home and after time we acquired the relevant tools/education though we were working at the same time. Now I can proudly say that the web-sites made by us conform with all W3 consortiums’ requirements (main laboratory for standardization of web-technologies),” said Giorgi Goderdzishvili.
“The most challenging and at the same time interesting work was the building of the European Schools web-site for which we created the first electronic journal and diary. Currently we are also trying to improve and innovate the interface of that web-site and create a second version of the electronic journal.”
“As well as the European Schools website there were lots of others including the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Monument Protection. We were invited there as freelancers dealing with programming part of the site. We also worked on the construction of company Vipavia’s website.”
“As for the prices we charge, they mainly depend on the functions/tools that are integrated in the website. There are clients who simply want the information clearly presented while others are willing to have very interactive and graphical designs. Though we try to avoid making websites that cost less than 2000 USD because of the intensive workload but nonetheless we have made websites for 400-500 USD, ones from which the client just needs something very simple like a “visiting card”.”
“As for our future plans we are opening a web-design studio soon where we’ll have a stable workplace. Being a freelancer gives you the chance to have more flexible working hours and free time, however in this case not a stable income. Our income basically depends on the number of website orders, which we don’t have control over, but we also are working on our own, separate from our freelancing hobby,” said Giorgi Goderdzishvili.