Georgian Companies Help Inspire the Business Leaders of Tomorrow

Friday, May 5, 2017
Business skills lesson at Tbilisi public school #64
Levan Barkaia, Georgia Primary Education Program, implemented by Chemonics

USAID’s Georgia Primary Education Project collaborates closely with the private sector to engage volunteers in teaching lessons on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and workforce readiness in public schools across Georgia.

Historically, it was rare for Georgian companies to invest in education, particularly at the primary level, but today, more and more companies are realizing that entrepreneurial, financially aware young people are the key to future success and prosperity.

USAID’s Primary Education Project’s (G-PrieEd’s) “Business Skills Program” engages professionals from local and international businesses to teach business skills to Grade 5-6 students in Georgian public schools. To date, over 200 private sector volunteers from 52 companies have delivered business skills lessons. Approximately 25,000 students in Grades 1-6 in 70 public schools participate in the program. The lessons, which are based on the Junior Achievement International curriculum, have been highly praised by volunteers, teachers, principals, parents, and students. Basic business skills on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and workforce readiness are being developed through fun games and activities by classroom teachers in Grades 1-4 and private sector volunteers in higher grades. The pilot for the program (2015-2016) showed a 43% improvement in students’ understanding of basic business skills.

Since 2016 the program has also been available to schools in Georgia through “Junior Achievement Georgia” - a fee-based model. When Irakli Kurdadze, the owner of Freco, a potato chip production company located in Muskhi village, Samtskhe-Javakheti region, learned about this opportunity, he purchased a Grade 6 program for village students and decided to sponsor the participation of students from two neighboring villages - Uraveli and Kheoti:

“Knowing that people in my village struggle without jobs, I have set a goal to contribute to the community by providing employment opportunities…While Samtskhe-Javakheti region has huge economic potential, there are no current opportunities, and young people are forced to move to bigger cities...While growing our business in Muskhi, we found out about the Business Skills Program and immediately decided to participate. This program is important, fun, and a great opportunity for the village kids. It is so exciting and rewarding to work with those children. We clearly see their potential and enormous drive to learn.”

This is a great example of a Georgian business leader thinking about his country’s future and volunteering time and resources to make it better. USAID hopes stories like this will stimulate others in Georgia to join the G-PriEd program, helping to raise the businesses leaders of tomorrow and building a brighter future for the country.