I moved to America more than 10 years ago, where I had a small taxi company in New York. The company collapsed after six months and I decided to return to Israel with the intention of continuing my studies in IT. I started working for a shipping company that grew quite quickly, became its director and was sent back to America to open a branch. Back in Tel Aviv, I worked in a call centre which was growing, and one of my colleagues was sent to Georgia and I joined him. After running a centre for another company here, my partner and I saw the opportunity and potential in Georgia to create our own distribution company.
Yes, there are large American companies that opened call centres a few years ago, and they will continue to open here, it's easier than other countries.
I mainly hire students, we employ about 40 people here, and we are only a small company. Our growth is fast and we will need more hiring in the very short term. The fact is that we can afford to pay our employees above-average salary, and for many of them, we also provide medical insurance. This is a real plus in our company.
They say it's easy to open a business here, which is true from an administrative point of view. Dealing with banks is less easy when they don't know you, they are reluctant to give accounts to merchants and tend to ask a lot of questions and are a little suspicious about new foreign customers. They've faced to many laundering problems the past years, it's not surprising. But in my case, I already had the on-going contracts and all the documentation ready to prove that I wanted to open an account for the company. So speaking shortly, it's quite easy to open a business in Georgia. However, the Internet for companies is too expensive. When you are a private individual, the Internet is very cheap in Georgia, however, for a company, they charge you more than three times the price, for no reason and that's not normal.
Georgia wants foreign entrepreneurs, she encourages them to invest and work here. So I think she should improve banking regulation for business owners. The overall infrastructure still needs to be improved to support the activity of foreign companies, such as customer service: often, when you call a specific service and ask for someone who speaks English, there is no one there, or they simply hang up!
Georgia is a beautiful place, and I think a lot of entrepreneurs have decided to start a business here because of that. There are some things that bother me, such as ineffective roadworthiness tests (*) on vehicles, relatively low fines compared to other countries, and the regulation on the quality safety of the food you buy in stores is not really there yet. These are things that can easily be improved, however, and overall, it's nice to be here. I think for most business owners, in the end, they stay because they make money here.
As I said, in the end, it is easy and inexpensive to open a business here, but you will need the patience to manage it. As in any other country, you will face problems and it will take time to resolve them. Don't expect that it will be easy, you will still have to work hard to develop it well, as you would in any other business project elsewhere in the world. But Georgia has very important assets. Its workforce, infrastructure costs such as electricity, oil and gas are very cheap. So is the cost of living. And then the climate and its geographical location, a junction point between Europe, the Middle East and the Asian world.