Georgia is one of the leaders in the region in terms of implementing technological innovations, which, in turn, has a positive impact on the country’s economy, business environment, startup ecosystem growth, and the advancement of entrepreneurship in general, as evidenced by the 2021 Index of Economic Freedom, wherein among 45 European states Georgia ranked 7th. On the one hand, it can be assured that such success was due to a certain degree of national readiness among our community to master new technologies, on the other hand, the necessity of a competitive domestic market, the development of entrepreneurship, pandemic and e-commerce industry that has emerged in its trails, has brought incredible results to the country: For example, Georgia is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of mobile phone penetration and the Internet, which, according to data from 2021 are 86% and 84% respectively, making Georgia one of the leading countries in this aspect. At the same time, the banking industry proves to be particularly developed in Georgia. It can be said that the leading Georgian banks are not merely financial institutions, but also technology companies that create the most innovative products and services in the region, which, on the one hand, develops business and economy and, on the other hand, makes people’s daily lives much easier.
In addition to commercial banks, the country’s forecasting for banking and its transparency is conditioned by the National Bank of Georgia. This major financial institution announced the creation of digital national currency last year. The digitization of the Georgian currency took place due to the emergence of new technologies and their active development. Through the development of the national currency, the Georgian Lari can adapt to the digital economy and increase the effectiveness of the economic policy. It is expected that the digital currency of the National Bank will become an important tool for the financial ecosystem and will greatly influence the creation of private innovations and new financial technologies.
Companies working on payment technologies also play an important role in developing innovations on the one hand, and on the other boost country’s economy. In this regard – Visa, the world leader in digital payments, is actively represented in the Caucasus region. Visa facilitates transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries each year. The mission of the global company is to connect the world through an innovative, convenient, reliable, and secure payment network. Visa believes that increased economic access has a positive impact on overall societal well-being and, at the same time, presents a precondition for the movement of money globally. The network of Visa tightly connects business circles to one another, entrepreneurs and customers, promote small and medium-sized businesses, implements various innovative products and projects, and helps businesses to digitize and boost remote sales. Thanks to Visa that Georgia ranks second in the world in the number of contactless payments made with Visa cards on the local market. More than nine and a half out of every ten payments are completed through contactless technology.
Moreover, it is certain to say that pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, with businesses moving online, adjusting development strategies to new realities. There has been a general increased market demand for digitization, thus contactless payment functionality has further expanded. For example, by using Visa Tap to Phone technology, small and medium-sized businesses can turn their smartphones into POS terminals.
Innovation in Georgia has also been achieved through a developed startup ecosystem, enabling companies to compete in the global market. Recently, the Georgian financial-technological startup Payze, which is also a program participant of one of the world’s leading startup accelerators, Y Combinator, and a winner of ‘500 Georgia’, has become a finalist of the Visa Everywhere Initiative 2021 and a winner of the regional finals of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. This once again reaffirms the enhancement of innovation in Georgia, especially given a large number of countries in the region and their level of technological development.
Technologically developed Georgian banks show a lot of concern for the development of the Georgian startup ecosystem. A few years ago, the Bank of Georgia introduced the world’s largest accelerator, 500 Startups, which is a clear indication that startups in the Georgian technology can attract American venture capital.
Interestingly, there are companies in Georgia that have attracted the attention of global players with their innovative products and managed to merge with them. In this regard, Georgian company PulsarAI turned out to be incredibly successful. People behind the company created the most advanced artificial intelligence in the world for the automotive industry, attracting the attention of the auto industry giant, SpinCar. The story does not end there, however: the founders of PulsarAI have achieved unprecedented success, SpinCar acquired the company for several million dollars and made it the main base for their global operations.
The role of companies that want to promote Georgian innovation instead of merging with global companies should also be emphasized. To this end, upon entering the international market, businesses are primarily managed from Georgia. An excellent example of this trend is one of the largest banks in Georgia – TBC Bank, which created the first fully digital bank in Georgia and in the region called Space. Interestingly enough, the Space team is based in Georgia and leads two geographical units in Georgia and Uzbekistan. This approach and management style make the business platform much more efficient and significant. In parallel to accumulating foreign capital, it also contributes to the development of the country’s economy, which indicates the innovative and modern approach of the Georgian company.
One cannot afford not to mention the Internet, the so-called visible space of public access that has been evolving faster than one can imagine. The most obvious example of this trend is decentralized technologies linked to the third generation Internet, Web 3.0. The latter was actively adopted by the largest Georgian e-commerce platform Mymarket.ge. It allowed crypto payments last year, thus becoming one of the first Georgian companies to recognize cryptocurrency as means of payment. In addition, when talking about Web 3.0, organization 2.0 should also be mentioned, the people behind of which are Georgian pioneers of NFT technology.
Considering all case studies mentioned above, we can easily assume that Georgia has boundless potential in terms of driving and implementing innovative technologies with ambitious plans towards development, prosperity, distinguished business ecosystem when progress is simply inevitable.Leave a comment