Georgia launches the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process in the region of Imereti

News article |

The Republic of Georgia, one of the EU Eastern Partners, recently completed the first phase of the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) for the Imereti Region.

Georgia photo

The EDP is one of the pillars of the Smart Specialisation approach as it validates the collected evidence for policymaking and stimulates local market actors to undertake a more active role in the process rather than participating as reticent recipients of innovation policies. The objective of the EDP workshops is to promote the debate between main territorial actors during each of the preliminary priority domains and to identify the needs and innovative potential that can be empowered through the final phase of the Smart Specialisation Strategy. 

The priority areas under discussion for the Imereti region are:

1.    Extraction and production of basic metals and ores
2.    Processing of wood and timber, production of wooden products and furniture
3.    Agrofood industries
4.    Manufacturing of clothing, leather, footwear and textiles

The forward-looking vision and the final definition of these priorities will be decided during the EDP. The complexity of this process lies in the combination of management and technical capacities that aim to facilitate an effective dialogue among stakeholders. National coordinators, experts, and facilitators have worked together with the main actors of the regional ecosystem (i.e. companies, universities and research institutes, local government and civil society) in order to promote the stakeholders’ dialogue and involve them in the definition of innovation related policies.

During the month of June 2022, a set of eight workshops have taken place for the first two priority domains. The EDP process will continue in September with the remaining two areas. Insights from the recently completed mapping phase of the Smart Specialisation process for the Imereti Region are the key input to this discussion. 

Georgia has just recently launched the stakeholders’ dialogue despite the difficulties experienced due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. One of the main challenges has been to effectively get the stakeholders involved, finally opting for a hybrid-meeting format. This interaction focused particularly on engaging with businesses that represent the core of the innovation potential in a local ecosystem and that must be present with at least 50% of the audience during the EDP working groups. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) provided specialised support with local and international experts and methodological guidance with the Smart Specialisation implementation framework for the EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Region

This activity lies within the framework of the project “Support to Smart Specialisation in the Neighbourhood Region” which aims at strengthening the institutional capacity of EU neighbouring countries in the development of their Smart Specialisation Strategies.