5 reasons to read this issue…
We are publishing this issue of our magazine on the eve of the Caucasus SME Banking Club Conference in Tbilisi, which we are organizing in the region for the third consecutive year. Anyone traveling to Georgia should be prepared for the many changes that have been made in the country’s business environment in recent years. The fact that Georgia was ranked 16th – it is also one of the world’s top 10 countries in terms of implementing reforms to business regulations – out of 190 countries in the latest Doing Business 2017 is worthy of respect.
Despite this, Georgian bankers will still tell you: “Yes, but we still have a lot to do.” This is especially the case in business banking. The picture of what is available in terms of support for the SME segment would be incomplete without mentioning the fact that there is still a lot to be done in the areas of startup banking and export support, digital transformation and value-added services. Zurab Masurashvili, Head of MSME at the Bank of Georgia, summarizes what you need to know in an article about the Bank of Georgia’s case study in SME business development support (page 20).
The agenda for this spring’s Caucasus SME Banking Club Conference 2017 has been shaped by banks’ high degree of interest in the small business segment. Olena Prokopovych, Program Manager at IFC, is among those senior experts who have undertaken significant efforts to provide advice on how to support commercial banks in the implementation of non-financial services for SMEs.
Finally, the continuing influx of digital transformation and fintech disruptions is a hot topic in the banking industry, which is why we expect more extensive cooperation between banks and fintechs in the very near future.