Supporting Rural Development through youth entrepreneurship in Georgia
The project's intended impact is: Strengthened rural development in the target municipalities as a consequence of fostering entrepreneurial potential of young people (aged 18 to 35).
The expected outcome of the project is: Improved social and economic participation and well-being of youth as a result of enhanced entrepreneurial skills and support to existing and new youth-led enterprises.
Output 1. Young male and female entrepreneurs apply improved skills, knowledge, and capacities related to youth entrepreneurship
Output 2. Young male and female entrepreneurs thrive through increased access to finance, business support structures, networks, and key market actors
Output 3. Existing and newly created youth-led enterprises benefit from gender inclusive practices and tools
Target group / Beneficiaries
The project's direct beneficiaries will be at least 1,500 young people residing in the target municipalities with a strong intention to expand an already existing business or start a new micro/small/medium size business in these locations. The types of business activities will include existing or new agriculture and non-agriculture businesses, led by young entrepreneurs. By the end of the project, at least 50 youth-led enterprises will be supported. It is anticipated that from the direct beneficiaries at least 50% will be young women, and at least 40% will be from ethnic and/or religious minorities and IDPs.
The project will work with renowned Business Development Service providers and Vocational Education and Training Centres, business hubs and incubators, financial institutions and Women’s Rooms, Non-Governmental Organisations.
The activities will be implemented in 18 municipalities in four regions (Kvemo Kartli; Samtskhe-Javakheti; Shida Kartli; Mtskheta-Mtianeti).
The expected outcome and the three key outputs will be achieved through facilitation of a two staged tailored training and capacity development support, and creation of linkages between young entrepreneurs and existing business support structures, key market actors and financial institutions, providing young entrepreneurs with increased knowledge, capacity and opportunities to start or develop a business and benefit from improved and sustainable employment practices. In addition, the project will introduce targeted activities that promote gender equality and women's full participation in the labour market via incorporation of gender mainstreaming tools and practices at the organization level.
Rural youth in Georgia have a very high literacy rate and the vast majority of them are highly motivated to pursue opportunities for employment and professional growth. However, they are currently faced with several compounding barriers to achieve their potential in the Georgian workforce. Starting from a mismatch in skills obtained in schools to those required in the labour market and heightened by a lack of access to employment opportunities and access to finance to start and/or develop their own business. During the last two years, the economic landscape for rural youth suffered an additional blow in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused a significant decline of the tourism industry (including rural tourism) and in general, economic activities, where young people from rural areas were employed, leaving them either unemployed or working in subsistence agriculture with limited opportunities for professional development and additional income.
To address these challenges, Mercy Corps Europe through Mercy Corps’ representation in Georgia will draw on a suite of proven and contextually tailored tools for sustainable rural development and research-informed market system development and youth employment programming.