A natural beverage enterprise named Kombucha began operating this month with the support of the Partnership Fund, ‘Startup Georgia’, and USAID project ‘Growth in Georgia.’ The enterprise is located in the village of Karapila, near the Administrative Boundary (occupation) Line (ABL) with the breakaway Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia). Kombucha produces a naturally carbonated, healthy drink made from fermented tea. It is a process and concept totally new to the country.
The construction of the Kombucha plant started in the summer of 2020 with the co-financing of Startup Georgia and Growth in Georgia. The company was officially opened by David Saganelidze, Executive Director of the Partnership Fund, Kelly Degnan, Ambassador of the United States of America to Georgia, Giorgi Lomidze, Director of Startup Georgia, and Ketevan Chumburidze, USAID Growth in Georgia Project Manager.
“We are now in a very important place for every citizen of Georgia, in the village of Karapila, near the occupied territories, and the work started by these young people is extremely valuable and a pleasure for us to see,” Saganelidze noted. “This is the best example of success and diligence in how to use our resources and opportunities to develop local businesses and the economy. These young people received their knowledge and education at leading universities in Europe and America, and now they are using it to develop their country.
“I would like to thank one of our most important partners, the American side, a great supporter of Georgia, Ms. Kelly Degnan, and USAID’s Growth for Georgia for jointly implementing this project. Projects like this will contribute to the economic development of the country, and will create new jobs and boost the interest and involvement of youth,” he added.
“I thank the American side, our loyal friend the Ambassador, Ms. Kelly Degnan, and the USAID team, because they trusted us and helped us implement this project,” Lomidze noted. “We started working on the project a year ago and we are already seeing results. The tireless work we have done to implement the idea is already here, in one of the most important regions for Georgia. It is gratifying that Startup-Georgia and Growth, together with these young people, were able to produce such a different and innovative product on the territory of our country.
“I hope that such enterprises will play a big role in the development of the country’s economy and that Kombucha will be a brand whose name will make Georgia known in the international market. This is effective cooperation, with concrete, achieved results.”
Kombucha Brewers Georgia Ltd, a widely consumed beverage in America, is one of the first manufacturers of organic kombucha in Georgia. The goal of the company is to offer people a product rich in probiotics and useful qualities, along with the growing trend of healthy living in Georgia. Kombucha is made from local raw materials. The enterprise will employ the rural population. The products will be sold in the Georgian market in various trade networks and will be exported in the future.
Kombucha detoxifies and boosts the immune system, which is one of the main challenges of the 21st century, in particular, healthcare in a polluted environment and filling the deficit of organic products for the body. In 2019-2021, within the Partnership Fund’s program Startup Georgia and USAID project Growth in Georgia, five startup projects were funded in the regions of Georgia. The joint investment for the implementation of these projects was more than 1,500,000 GEL, and the total co-beneficiaries amounted to 1,050,000 GEL.
The goal of the cooperation between Startup Georgia and USAID’s Growth in Georgia is to improve the economic situation of the population living along the ABL, to increase their incomes, and to promote employment.
Startup Georgia has 112 winners at this stage, including 92 business ideas belonging to the innovative component. The implementation of the winning startup ideas is ongoing in stages.