"Upstarts and Startups: Visions of Georgia's Future"
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In a country where innovation is often the exception, not the rule, entrepreneurs are fighting to modernize their businesses through the adoption of new technologies and ideas. A look at the unconventional business people of Georgia, reveals a number of refreshing new attitudes across agriculture, startups, and retail stores.

 

Anna, owner of Cheese House in Tbilisi, is working to expand Georgia's cheese selections through sourcing unique varieties from small villages as well as producing her own.
Shelves at the second location of Cheese House, a franchise of the original that carries a similar variety of unusual and new Georgian cheeses
Anna shows off one of the cheeses she made herself before cutting a sample to try.
Foreman at Beka's sheep farm outside of Dedoplis Tskaro. At the feed barn, he has invented tools to speed up the everday workflow, such as a ceiling-mounted retractable feed sack sticher, and a wheelbarrow that contains an integrated scale.
Bekah, a 31-year old young lawyer-turned farmer, never stops improving his business by diversifying and using new technology. With several branches of agriculture under his brand to run, he is no stranger to multitasking.
No matter how much technology and innovation you use, unpredictable occurrences like hail can damage your crops as is shown in this field of barley.
Zura, a young farmer of 27, supervises the harvest of barley on his fields.
A flock of baby turkeys on Zura's farm. A fully-grown turkey can fetch as much as 100 lari at Christmas, so this tradition remains even on farms which have adopted the most groundbreaking entrepreneurial practices.
Detail of the whiteboard which hangs in the barn, documenting the artificial insemination schedule of the year.
Bekah and his son. Throughout the endless responsibilities that come with a diverse and thriving agricultural endeavor, he still makes time for his family.
Morning routines at the GITA Tech Park.
White sheets wave in the wind near the open seating area outside of the GITA Tech Park. The grounds around the building include many works of art created by members, often with tools available for use in the lower level Fab Lab.
One of the "brainstorm rooms" at the GITA Tech Park's coworking space. This floor is open for entrepreneurs to network, work, and share ideas among its open workspace and strategically partitioned meeting rooms.
9 PM on a Friday night, the last few dedicated startup employees pack up and head home from the co-working space.
One of the attendees of the Startup Marketing Master Class takes a break between sessions.
Saturday afternoon: a small production team films tutorial videos for startups looking for legal advice. These kinds of informational resources are one of many benefits offered with membership to GITA.
One of the attendees of the Startup Marketing Master Class takes a break between sessions.
Attendees leave from the Startup Marketing Master Class at the GITA Tech Park. Many who use GITA's services focus on their startup businesses at night or on weekends, secondary to their regular full-time work.
Old and new: A chair amongst the tomato plants at Greenhouses on Lisi Lake, one of Georgia's first commercial organic and sustainable farms.
Clients come to pick up an order of organically grown lettuces. The greenhouses grow all their produce without chemicals, an idea which has not fully caught on in a country where the average salary is only 400 GEL per month.
Plastic curtains hanging in a secondary greenhouse, growing tomatoes, lettuces, and squash.
Traveling through tunnels to get to and from the mountaintops where the greenhouses are located.
At the offices of Omedia.ge, a custom software service. Like many startups in Tbilisi, they rent an apartment on a residential street because it is much more cost-effective than renting a corporate space.
Because their offices are apartments, their full kitchens show character seen in a typical Georgian homes.
Smoke break on the balcony at Omedia.ge.
Evening at work at a startup Omedia.ge.
Employees hard at work at the Omedia.ge startup headquarters.
Sophia, 83. As she serves customers in her son's CD, SIM card, and copy shop, she believes it's helpful to learn new technologies in order to provide the best assistance.
Sophia stands for a portrait next to her piano and a framed photograph of her late husband and her mother-in-law.
Sophia stands for a portrait in her son's CD, SIM card, and copy shop on Kote Afkhazi Street.
Detail of a balcony door at the Wandio headquarters, which is used many times a day for smoke breaks.
Flowcharts keep the engineering team on track at Wandio, a software startup in Tbilisi.
Coffee, always an essential part of any work place, gets the morning started at Wandio's kitchen. Like many other startups in Tbilisi, their office is actually a residential apartment.
For hours, employees at Wandio stay focused on their screens.
Detail of a light fixture at the Wandio headquarters, an apartment in downtown Tbilisi.
Deep in the afternoon, employees are hard at work in neighboring bedroom offices.
With no actual meeting rooms, conversations happen in the foyer or – more commonly – on one of the two smoke break balconies.
Chai Khana
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