This week, we had the pleasure of speaking with Natia Zhgenti, Senior Investment Officer Origination in Private Debt, based in the Tbilisi office. Continue reading if you want to know why Natia is passionate about working in the impact investing industry, how she incorporates sustainability in her private life, and her most valuable advice for anyone who is interested in impact investing.

Can you tell us more about how you joined BlueOrchard?

I have worked in the microfinance sector here in Georgia before joining BlueOrchard. My work involved intensive field trips and face to face meetings with end borrowers. This first-hand experience made me understand how important it is for the small business owners to have access to finance. I wanted to broaden my horizons and switch to a much larger scale global company. Therefore I immediately applied when I learnt that BlueOrchard was opening an office in Georgia. I was very lucky to get the opportunity to grow as a professional in the pioneering company of the impact investing industry. What I enjoy most about working at BlueOrchard is our team spirit. Every morning I step into a positive atmosphere which helps me to feel energized.

I truly enjoy working in the impact investing industry, as I find working for a good cause is very fulfilling in many aspects. But the most rewarding is feeling proud of myself when talking to my children about my work.

How do you make an impact in your private life?

I try my best to consume less plastic and reduce waste. Unfortunately it is quite challenging to lead a zero-waste lifestyle in today’s reality, but it is very important to understand that even small changes in our daily life have a big impact on the environment. I believe that increasing awareness is crucial, so others understand that replacing single use plastic can be easily accomplished, and even comes with a financial benefit.

I am very outspoken in expressing my frustration when I experience pointless incidents, such as selling bananas wrapped in plastic foil or packaging single groceries in multiple plastic bags. On the other hand, I however also make sure to express my gratitude and excitement when I discover responsible businesses which implement sustainable efforts, such as selling in bulk, offering product refills, or incentivising recycling. I try to spread the word about such businesses and encourage my friends and family to buy from them.

Lastly, do you have any advice for people who are interested in impact investing?

The most valuable advice I can give to people interested in impact investing is for them to try and spend enough time in the field, in order to meet with end borrowers, visiting their businesses and homes. There is nothing more inspiring than hearing their stories and witnessing how impact investing improves people’s quality of living.

Thank you, Natia.