Natalia Buskadze, 46, IDP from Abkhazia, lives in Tbilisi for the past 2.5 years. She moved from Senaki Region 2.5 years ago in order to create better living conditions for her family. In 2013, Mrs. Natalia approached Microfinance Organization Alliance Group and took her first loan in the amount of GEL 6,000 to buy trade stocks. Mrs. Natalia runs mini market in Tbilisi and works from 08:00 am to 00:00 pm together with her husband. Mrs. Natalia and her husband are thinking to expand their business in the future and planning to apply for funding once again.
Murad Asatiani, 50, a taxi driver lives with his family of four in Angisi, Batumi area. Couple of years ago, he started to renovate his two-story house, but due to lack of funds, was able to renovate only the second floor where his family currently lives.
Last year, he heard about AGM’s eco-loan and decided to address the organization to find out whether he could fit into the loan criteria. He received financing of GEL 5,000 (USD $2,853) for 18 months period and used the loan to replace wooden door-window frames with PVC window-door frames. Murad says that during the winter period, he was spending GEL 500-750 (USD 285-430) for wood for heating. However, since the renovation work, his heating costs have reduced by 65% as PVC winder-door frames preserves the heat inside the house, thus he is spending less wood on heating.
Murad has a 17 year old girl and 16 –year old boy. In order to accumulate some savings for their education, Murad decided to rent his first floor and generate additional source of income. “I am very happy with my cooperation with AGM, since I saw a lot of benefit from eco-loan. First, the term was very acceptable and most importantly, I managed to receive financing within a day. I used the loan to renovate the house, reduced my costs for heating and in addition, found an alternative source of income that will help me to finance my kids’ education”, - says Murad.
Ruslan Absandze 27, together with his wife, two minor children and mother, lives in the village Orsantia, Zugdidi region. In 2010, together with his two friends, Ruslan decided to start a small greenhouse business and produce fruits and vegetables. Initially, Ruslan received financial assistance from his family members. After producing cucumber and greens, he decided to expand the variety of their produce. In 2011 he addressed Microfinance Organization Alliance Group Zugdidi service center and spent his first loan of GEL 2,000, for installing heating system at the greenhouse. His second loan in the amount of GEL 3,000, he used for purchasing additional construction materials and fertilizers in 2013.
In 2012, Ruslan participated in the project funded by the international donor organization and with the assistance of the project he managed to get high yield strawberry saplings from Spain. Today, Ruslan operates a 500 sq. meter greenhouse, where he harvests around 40 kg of strawberries every second day. Ruslan receives monthly income of GEL 1200-1500 from his greenhouse. “Working at the greenhouse is really very time-consuming. My friends and I, we spend all days in this greenhouse. But if you want to get some results, particularly in strawberry business, you have to be fully committed. I am very grateful for Alliance Group, since the company helped us when no financial institution was interested to trust us”.
Ruslan plans to expand his business and introduce new apple saplings in the future.
Maia Tevdoradze, 48, lives with her two sons and husband in the small village of Patrsiketi, in Tsakltubo region in West Georgia. Maia had been working selling goods at a local market in Kutaisi. However, after the market was unexpectedly closed, she was left unemployed and in a very difficult financial situation. In order to satisfy the basic needs of her large family, she decided the only way to bring her family out of poverty was to engage more in agriculture, particularly by growing crops in greenhouses. Currently, she grows herbs and tomatoes in 625 m2 of greenhouses.
In 2010, Maia took out an agricultural loan from AGM for GEL 1,500 GEL for working capital to plant herbs and tomatoes in her greenhouses. “It was my first loan and I was very nervous whether I would be able to manage it. But you need to take some risks in order to succeed. I had two young sons, whose future depended on me so I was positive that with hard work, we would be able to achieve good results. Now we produce around 8 tons of tomatoes and 3 tons of herbs annually. The success in our greenhouses motivated me to do even more, and I applied for a second loan from AGM for USD 3,700 which I used to rent a small place at a local market to sell own production. Currently, I employ 3-5 seasonal workers, mostly my neighbours at the greenhouse. AGM gave me a chance to start-up my small business and during this period, I became certain that you can achieve success working honestly with this company”.
AGM client Temuri Gorgadze, 59, together with his family of six, lives in village Khando, Tsalka region of East Georgia. For the last 13 years he has been actively engaged in livestock and potato production. Currently, he owns 26 heads of cattle and sells around 100 litres of milk daily at a local milk collection centre. Temuri also produces on average 10 tons of potatoes on his 1 ha field.
"Just like many of my neighbours, my family are migrated from Adjara region, in West Georgia. We were forced to flee our village due to massive landslides and had to start over again in Tsalka. AGM really helped my family to get on our feet. With my first loan of GEL 600, I purchased 2 cows; at a later stage, I took my second loan of GEL 2,000 and added 4 more cows. In May 2012, I took my last loan for GEL 4,500 which I used to buy a mowing tractor to produce hay. Today, not only me, but also my neighbors are using the tractor to produce hay for their farms. I am very happy with my experience with AGM. These people trusted me, an inexperienced entrepreneur and they gave me a chance to succeed. It really helped my family and my small business to move to a new stage of development”.
Omar Mikeladze, 48, resident of village Sakdrioni, Tsalka region in East Georgi, has been a valued AGM customer for almost two years. Together with his family, which included a wife and four daughters, he has been actively involved in livestock and potato production. Currently, he owns 15 head of cattle and produces on average 20 tons of potatoes on his 3 hectare land.
"My family and I emigrated from Aspindza region 8 years ago. Due to lack of arable land and unfavourable climate conditions for agriculture, we were forced to move to Tsalka. Since the land in the local area was very fertile, my wife and I decided to engage more actively in agriculture in order to feed our growing family. I approached the local AGM service centre for a loan, since there were not many financial services available for farmers in Tsalka. With my first loan of GEL 2,000, I purchased two cows. Later with my second loan of GEL 4,000, I purchased potato seeds, fertilizers and planted potatoes on my 1.3 ha land plot. On the basis of my successful relationship with AGM, in September 2012, I took a third loan for GEL 10,000, which refinanced former liabilities and enabled me to purchase three additional cows. Because of my successful experience with borrowing from AGM, my agricultural capital has now increased up to GEL 16,000 GEL, and my monthly income has grown by GEL 500-600 GEL. I managed to give me daughters the education they deserve and I am very proud that my oldest daughter has successfully enrolled in University”.
Irakli Nizharaze, born in Kutaisi in 1992, is one of AGM’s youngest entrepreneurial customers. His ambition and passion for hard work allowed him to open a retail shop where he sells various agricultural products.
In 2009, Irakli received his first loan in the amount of GEL 6,000, which he used to expend his operations, to refurbish his shop and to purchase additional stock. In March, 2012, he borrowed an additional USD 10,000 to further expand his business. “After Georgia’s independence from the USSR, the whole country went through numerous downturns, which adversely affected my family. Difficult living conditions, poor income, and my desire to succeed in life led me to start my own small business. There were many problems on the way, but with the help of people who trusted in me, my hard work has paid off. Now my shop employs two people and we work hard to expand our business and employ more people in the future”.