The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent stringent lockdown measures have had a drastic toll on the Georgian economy. The economic downturn has significantly affected the resilience of local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), whose sales decreased by almost 13% (YoY) in the first two quarters of 2020. These negative impacts of the economic contraction have been particularly severe for Women-led Small and Medium Enterprises (WSMEs). In the business-as-usual scenario, compared to their male counterparts, women face greater constraints in establishing and running enterprises in Georgia. Such gender disparities were moreover found to be exacerbated because of the strict quarantine measures introduced throughout the country.

This policy paper evaluates the impacts, specific challenges, and prospects for women-led businesses during and post the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia, and also offers recommendations to the government, donors, and private sector stakeholders on how to cushion Coronavirus-driven harm. For this analysis, different qualitative and quantitative research methods were utilized.

ISET-PI and GET have predicted the potential for Georgia to specialize in the international provision of business services. This potential can be primarily applies to the following practices: Operational leasing services, Legal and accounting services, Management consulting and public relations, advertising, market research, R&D, architectural and technical services.

The analysis of the current situation in Georgia and on the world market revealed the presence of limited genuine export and showed that present business services exports are largely the byproduct of other economic activities.

As for the competitive potential of Georgia for producing these goods, the team has identified three key competitive factors: The analysis of Human Capital showed Georgia has highly competitive wages in service sector jobs, but with the need for additional training. Additionally, Georgia has been characterized as having an excellent business environment with a low tax burden, efficient bureaucracy, and low levels of corruption. Finally, Georgia has a strong infrastructure for business communication services.

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