The United States government will be providing USD 0.5 million to fund new enterprises in the villages along the occupation line, dividing Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia proper, the U.S. Embassy to Georgia announced on September 19. The project will be implemented through cooperation between the Partnership Fund and USAID Zrda Activity in Georgia, which will “facilitate investments in the target communities” along the occupation lines.
By signing a memorandum of cooperation, the Partnership Fund and USAID Zrda are taking responsibility to invest in the villages along the occupation line and to support employment of local population. In particular, grants will be distributed for developing innovative business plans through the Partnership Fund’s daughter company – Startup Georgia.
According to USAID/Georgia “private sector growth builds bridges and opportunities in conflict-affected communities.” USAID Mission Director in Georgia Peter Wiebler said yesterday that this project is “the direct evidence of the U.S. commitment to supporting economic growth and opportunity” in the “vulnerable communities” around the occupation line.
He said this commitment aims to help these communities become “more resilient and less vulnerable to external economic influences.” “This event today is an example of what private sector-led development can and should look like in Georgia,” Wiebler said, hoping that the small businesses supported through Startup Georgia “can and should… serve as models for innovation and entrepreneurial success in other parts of Georgia as well.”