Bakery Sells 1500 Loaves a day, Provides Work for Eight Socially Vulnerable Georgians
Customers stand in front of the bakery in Gelati, close to the Georgian town of Kutaisi, holding their bread and chatting. Inside the bakery, four bakers prepare a new round of bread for the owner, and one for the seller. Among the usual afternoon rush is one of the bakery’s three founders, Koba Nishnianidze. He stands under the sign signifying the business’s support by the Czech development agency and People in Need NGO. He proudly notes that besides the bakery, there are plans to open a market and a cafe.
To understand the origin of the business, we have to go back. Thirteen months ago, Koba Nishnianidze learned that People in Need provides support for small enterpreuners who prepare good business plans that meet the rules of social entrerprises. In this case, Nishnianidze’s plan could provide at least six vulnerable people with jobs. "One of my colleagues cooperated with People in Need on the One World in School program and learned about this opportunity," says Koba Nishnianidze. "We prepared the business plan and submitted it to People in Need. Then we started the preparation for works like reconstruction of the building," he describes the process.
The bakery opened the doors to the public seven months ago, and villagers from Gelati and other close villages quickly flocked to Koba’s bakery for their portion of bread. "Every day we are baking at least 1000 or 1500 pieces of bread. We just opened one more small bakery where we are baking lavash and we are delivering our bread there and sending lavash to Gelati," says Koba Nishnianidze.
This is not the only sucess of the small bakery that lies by the road among the charming hills of the Imereti region. "Nowadays we have 11 employees, some of them are working at night and the other part during the day. We employ eight socially vulnerable people, others are professionals like experienced bakers," Koba Nishnianidze says. "We have one seller and one professional baker who teaches others," he explains. Others will work in the cafe and market.
Natia Katamadze has been working in the bakery as a seller of bread and beverages from the very beginning. "This is the first time I am working. But I do not want to stay at home anymore. I am satisfied with this work and I do not want change my occupation," she says. "There are plans to open the market so I will work there. My boss here is very good and flexible. I have a small child so I must go home early sometimes," says Natia. "The working team is very good here, they are like a family," she adds.
The bakery changes the employees quite often. "One reason is that people are afraid of loosing their social status. The other reason is that people learned here how to bake and they have more ambitions and are looking for other jobs," says Koba Nishnianidze.
This is the desired outcome of the partnership between the Czech Development Agency and People in Need- people should receive qualification that helps them to find a job later on. "Very often the job here is motivation for the socially vulnerable and they find a better occupation later. One is working in the shop in Tbilisi for example," confirms the owner of company.
"Additionally we are providing trainings to socially protected beneficiaries. He has no social allowances and we are doing kind of vocational training in baking and we are going to employ him later," he explains.
How has PIN helped this bakery? PIN purchased some of the equipment for the business, but if the owner fulfils the conditions during coming months, that equipment will belong to him. Additionally, the owner took part in a business plan training. "Without the support of People in Need it will not be possible to build such a big company. We had resources only for smaller one. Now we are more effective," the owner says.
The initial success of the business encouraged the owner to proceed with optimism in other business ventures, like the cafe and market which he plans to open in the future. "We would like to open the shop with pastries and cakes. We tried to open it here but there is not enough space here," says Koba Nishnianidze.
PIN, with the Czech Development Agency, takes note of the creation of small businesses that employ people from disadvantaged groups, such as refugees, women and young people from large families. Since 2012, the organization has taken part in the development of social entrepreneurship, which offers job opportunities to those who would otherwise have a difficult time finding employment.