EU and UNIDO helped increase the sustainability and competitiveness of SMEs in the biopharmaceutical and marine fishing clusters in Georgia

Over the past 10 years, Georgia has made significant advancements towards its aim of EU integration. However, more reforms needed to be implemented to increase the sophistication of the private sector. With the EU funding, UNIDO supported the establishment of two leading business clusters, helping foster modernization, sustainability and quality improvement.

The objective of the project was to strengthen the capacity of policymakers to develop clusters and increase the competitiveness of the private sector by supporting leading clusters in the Georgian economy. In 2019, UNIDO conducted a mapping of 57 emerging and potential clusters and completed nine cluster diagnostic studies. Based on the findings, and in close collaboration with the EU delegation and the Georgian Government, UNIDO proceeded with the establishment of two clusters – the Georgian Marine Fishing Cluster and the Georgian Biopharmaceutical Cluster

With UNIDO support, the Marine Fishing Cluster swiftly became the main advocacy mediator with Government entities, leading to the introduction of necessary changes in a Government decree to expand fishing quotas for cluster members. On the other hand, manufacturers of pharmaceuticals received direct support from UNIDO experts to implement EU Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), thus bringing them closer to European standards. As a result, the Biopharmaceutical Cluster now has both GMP and GDP-certified members, which has opened up both local and international markets. 

Some key milestones achieved during the project are:

  • Strengthened inter-firm cooperation and collective efficiency through the establishment of two Cluster Management Organizations 

  • Helped SMEs increase their sales online with e-Marketing and Commerce program

  • Helped three pharmaceutical companies pass GMP and GDP certification

  • Developed an accredited GMP training programme in collaboration with the Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia, and Georgian Laboratory Association 

  • Trained more than 100 people on GMP and GDP, including inspectors, students, personnel of cluster members, etc.
  • Supported marine fishing companies in negotiations with shipbuilding companies for timely delivery of new fishing vessels, and with banks to refinance business loans Enhanced visibility and credibility of the clusters via two international conferences with more than 130 participants.

  • Developed a self-paced e-learning GMP program for better sustainability

The activities were conducted in the framework of the UN Joint Programme “EU Innovative Action for Private Sector Competitiveness in Georgia”. The programme was funded by the European Union with a budget of Euro 5.1 million and implemented by four UN agencies – the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), with a duration of 2019 – 2023.

For further information contact Mr. Fabio Russo (f.russo [at] (f[dot]russo[at]unido[dot]org)) and  Mr. Giorgi Todua, (g.todua [at] (g[dot]todua[at]unido[dot]org))