Bank of Georgia Doubling its Social Responsibilities

Bank of Georgia Doubling its Social Responsibilities

The FINANCIAL -- Bank of Georgia is doubling the budget of its social responsibility project Fund of Future for 2014. GEL 2.3 million will be issued for the purpose of carrying out all of its social responsibilities. The social initiatives of the Bank comprise: establishment of a consumer financial education centre; creation of business incubators; and the issuing of grants and scholarships.

GEL 1 million will be allocated for disabled children, GEL 150,000 will be spent on environmental protection and GEL 1 million will be spent on educational programmes.

“The 2013 budget of its Fund of Future was GEL 1.5 million, so we are practically doubling the figure this year. The Georgian Government recently initiated releasing charity from tax. This will prove to be a great relief to philanthropists,” Irakli Gilauri, CEO at Bank of Georgia, one of the leading Georgians banks, told The FINANCIAL.

The Bank will announce a grant competition in relation to its disability project. “NGOs, initiative groups and other relevant institutions working on disability issues will be allowed to participate in the grant competition. The issued grant will be aimed at projects of infrastructure, education and integration targeting schemes,” said Gilauri.

14 of the Bank’s service centres will be adapted for disabled citizens. In the initial stage this will involve ramps and automatic doors being installed. An additional GEL 180,000 will be allocated on this direction. Over 100 service centres are planned to be adapted in this way in the future.

From spring 2014, the Bank will be accepting a contingent at the consumer financial education centre. “Individuals as well as legal entities will be able to participate. We plan to receive more than 1,000 applicants in 2014. Teaching our customers skills of accurate estimation and evaluation of their finances and their correct management is a key issue for us. After graduating from the programme customers will be able to minimize their financial risks and establish long-term and beneficial relations with financial institutions,” said Gilauri.

In order to support motivated start-ups with creative business ideas, Bank of Georgia established its business incubator programme. According to the programme, participants will receive professional advice, be able to establish contacts with the business environment and work on creating a business plan. Grants will be awarded to the authors of the best ideas.

“We do not have any specific direction that we are targeting at the business incubator. Any ideas will be equally considered. There will be no sector or gender discrimination,” said Gilauri.

According to Gilauri there is always a need for education, hence the Bank is establishing its scholarship programme for students.

GEL 150,000 is the budget for supporting the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. “We started financing the park four years ago and are continuing with this. Environmental protection is one of the key directions of our social responsibility projects,” Gilauri told The FINANCIAL.