This year’s BlueOrchard week took place in one of our local offices in Tbilisi, Georgia. Since the entire company and its ambassadors gathered together to discuss the future of impact investing and what role we are going to play as one of the leading players, we also took the occasion celebrating our 15th Birthday.
The week was a fantastic success, unleashing a high level of energy and innovation and allowing strengthening business relationships as well as friendships across all cultures. Actually, we counted having over 20 nations represented throughout our staff.
We started off the week with various presentations by the management laying the grounds for further intense workshops and discussion sessions amongst the specialists and teams. As a result, projects could be decided on, new initiatives launched, processes optimized and services enhanced – all serving our goal increasing our social and environmental impact but also continuing providing outstanding performance to our investors.
Besides desk work we visited several of our local MFI (Micro Finance Institutions) partners followed by interactions with their borrowers. In particular, following three family stories impressed all of us and showed us whom we are working for: Zurab B., a grocery salesman, living near the central market of the capital. He moved with his family from the remote countryside to Tbilisi seeking a new opportunity after struggling as a farmer with the climate
change. Becoming an MFI client he was granted over time multiple loans in order to grow his family business. Besides his family he has hired today 5 people helping running his shop. All loans were paid back in time. With the most recent loan he invested into a second shop, which he rents out at a margin, allowing paying for his children’s education. When we asked him what his plans are, Zurab answered: “As every entrepreneur on this planet, I indeed have more projects, but I won’t tell you.”
Giorgi is the proud owner of a coffee and candy shop. Previously he used to work for a large local distributor; however, he decided to try his luck and became an entrepreneur. So far he has asked for one loan over GEL 15000 (approximately USD 7000) for the shop’s supply. Shortly, he will have repaid this loan. He plans to ask for a second loan in order to enlarge his supplies and expand since there is a high demand for his products. The shop is opened 7 days a week and Giorgi has just recently hired an employe to help him.
Nino, Keti and Manana are close friends. Together they have invested into a booth in a jewellery trading hall. Trading with gold and silver and selling handmade jewellery, Nino considers herself as the “greatest believer of Microloans” being a respected customer for over ten years. She started trading with silver in 2002. Previously, she was working in a food stand barely making her living. Keti and Manana share similar stories. All of them consider themselves as business women with each individual accounts. Nino and Keti are both financing their families and the education of their children. Manana additionally keeps a family vineyard going, in which the rest of her family works in.
Of course there was also time for our 15 years Birthday celebration. At one of our customer’s venues we invited all our partners and together we had a lovely dinner and celebration. After all, BlueOrchard is the pioneer in its sector with the longest history and a track record of 16 years of very solid performance. We are all very proud having contributed to this success. Long live BlueOrchard!