The publication “Awareness and Involvement of Georgian Small and Medium Enterprises and Civil Society in Implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU” (further also the “Initial Study”) is an integral part of the EU-funded project “Georgia on the European Way: Creation of Effective Model for DCFTA and SME Strategy Implementation”, which was launched in April 2017 and is to be fully implemented by April 2019.

The project addresses the lack of awareness of opportunities provided by the “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area” (DCFTA) agreement between Georgia and the EU. It seeks to bolster the role of Georgian civil-society organizations (CSOs) in a nation-wide DCFTA communication campaign and their capacities to assist small and medium local entrepreneurs (SMEs) in their preparations for access to the EU single market.

The “Initial Study” analyses the results of two regional surveys conducted in Summer – Fall 2017 on a sample of 168 CSOs and 559 SMEs in 61 municipalities throughout the 10 regions of Georgia. The goal of the surveys was to gain a better understanding of: which Georgian CSOs are actively dealing with DCFTA-related issues; the level of awareness among SMEs regarding opportunities stemming from the DCFTA agreement signed between the EU and Georgia; the possibilities for exporting their products to the EU market; and what they perceive to be the main obstacles and challenges in doing so. The project is being implemented by an international consortium of non-governmental organizations and think-tanks under the leadership of the Eastern Europe Studies Center (EESC, Lithuania), together with the Association of Business Consulting Organizations (ABCO Georgia), the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP, Georgia), GLOBSEC Policy Institute (GPI, Slovakia), Young Scientists Union “Intellect” (Georgia), ATINATI (Georgia) and Association Caucasus Genetics (Georgia).