A year since its launch, a campaign designed to support local businesses by encouraging Georgians to buy local products has been hailed a success by both its initiator, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, as well as businesses. Companies of all sizes have taken part, seeing the project as a chance to increase awareness of their products and boost sales.
“Of course, the government should encourage and support Georgian products,” said Mr Margvelashvili at the latest exhibition of Georgian products, held in Karvasla. “But I would like to ask all citizens of Georgia to ask for Georgian when they go shopping. In doing so, they reinforce Georgian manufacturing, and help local economies to develop and create new job opportunities.”
A special loyalty card has been developed on which consumers can collect points (known as Georgians), with monthly prizes going to those who accumulate the most. Exhibitions of Georgian products are held across the country.
While many businesses were at first sceptical, a growing number have signed up over the past few months.
“When the project started, there were very few businesses involved,” said Nana Kirimelashvili, a representative of Nagomari, a cooperative which produces organic tea. “Today it’s different. More and more companies want to present and sell their products at the exhibitions. The very best Georgian goods are now part of the project.”
With the continued patronage of the president the Ask for Georgian roadshow will continue to travel the country throughout 2018. Meanwhile the campaign now aims to extend beyond Georgia’s borders in the hope of increasing exports. Within this framework, exhibitions of Georgian products at international fairs are planned, helping to improve consumer recognition and find new business contacts for small and medium-sized manufacturers.