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Travel, entrepreneurship, and investment in Georgia – Europe

Travel, entrepreneurship, and investment in Georgia - Europe

Georgia (in Georgian: საქართველო) is a sovereign country located on the Black Sea coast, on the border between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Geographically its territory has been classified as Eurasian, although culturally, historically, and politically, Georgia is considered to be part of Europe. Until 1991, it was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It shares borders with Russia to the north and northeast, with Turkey and Armenia to the south, and with Azerbaijan to the southeast. The capital is Tbilisi (in Georgian: თბილისი, Tbilisi), although since 2012 the Parliament has its seat in the city of Kutaisi.

This Caucasian country is home to the most impressive mountains in Europe, composed of gigantic glaciers, dreamlike meadows and snow-capped peaks above 5,000 meters; and a vibrant capital

Georgia has a very strong national identity, which is visible in many ways, from having its own Christian branch, to its unique architectural style, highly elaborate cuisine, and deep-rooted wine culture.

Today we are going to talk to Adrian, a young Spanish entrepreneur who lives in Georgia. He helps other entrepreneurs to establish their economic activity in this wonderful country through the formula that best suits their criteria and needs.

Interview with an entrepreneur in Georgia

Note: All the web pages shown here are in Spanish, but they can be translated into other languages using services such as Google Translator

Could you start by talking a little bit about yourself and what brought you to Georgia?

My name is Adrian, a 27-year-old Spanish entrepreneur. For 6 years (and currently) I’ve been working in digital marketing, even though as a born and compulsive entrepreneur I always try to investigate new sectors and create new business models, as a result of the opportunities I see.

For me, creativity is key to identify those new niches where I can “give it all”. Travel is also a good method to capture new business models in other countries where perhaps a certain sector or type of business has not yet exploded, and you see the opportunity to create it yourself.

Georgia is a wonderful country, because of its hospitable people (they believe that a guest is a gift from God), because of its security (it is the tenth safest country in the world), because of its excellent food (I would talk for hours about its wonderful gastronomy, for many of the best, historical and most complete in the world) and because of its wonderful natural landscapes, with mountains on one side (Caucasus) and coast on the other, and with borders with some countries that are tremendously recommended to visit, such as Turkey, Ayerbaiyán or Armenia.

What are the advantages of Georgia for investors?

Especially, I’ll tell you about the entrepreneurs as it is what I know best in my day to day, and in fact is what I try to help with tumpresaengeorgia.com

As an entrepreneur:

  • If you create a company in Georgia (LLC or LTD) you don’t have to contribute share capital, which in Spain you do, and whose share capital is 3,001 euros.
  • The opening of the company, as well as the registration as an individual entrepreneur, is done in just one day, and after acceptance by the relevant institutions, the next day you can start operating your company
  • Taxation in Georgia is tremendously friendly:
    • 20% tax on salaries (e.g. to allocate a salary to yourself within your company)
    • In the case of profits and distribution of dividends, you must pay 20% tax, breaking this down into 5% on profits and 15% on the distribution of dividends
    • Setting up the company is simple and the state fee is simply 105 laris (about 30 euros)
    • VAT is 18% and in some cases, such as foreign income, VAT is not paid. You can also decide, in case you have an income of less than 100,000 GEL per year (local currency), not to pay VAT.

As an investor, of course you also have many advantages, among them

The investment in real estate in Georgia is booming and you can get very good prices to buy a house here, for example in Batumi for 30.000 USD, and also of course in Tbilisi

There is a very interesting option for investors, legal and reliable (although recommended to make with a local advisor, in fact, tuempresaengeorgia.com also help to make this procedure) which is to support a Georgian economically, say for example that you “loan” 20,000 USD, in exchange the local person guarantees the loan with your home, which on the other hand happens to be managed by you as an investor for the duration of the loan. During that time (say 2 years, subject to negotiation) you rent the property to the person to whom you lend them money, and they pay you a monthly amount for continuing to live in the property. Once the loan has expired, the money is paid to the investor in full, and if not, the property becomes the investors.

Investment in a plot of land, for example in the area of Tbilisi Sea (in the capital) as well as in other towns of Georgia can be made an investment in building land, expected to grow its value in the next 5 years up to 9 times. Options to invest in land for growing nuts and other crops are also valued. Undoubtedly something very profitable in this country.

Kutaisi, Georgia

A few years ago, the news talked about the existence of conflicts in some regions of Georgia. Is it a safe country?

There are two places in Georgia that are currently and have been in conflict for years, these are Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

To make it easier for you, let me send you the link to my other blog viajageorgia.com where you will find information about the territory.

The conflict is peaceful in principle, but it is true that from Georgia access to both places is not allowed as they are occupied by the Russians. If you want to enter these areas you must go through Russia but if you do, it is advisable to have a private guide and never go alone, as they are somewhat conflictive places (sometimes, not always). IMPORTANT: In case of accessing to both territories, Georgia will not let you enter again to Georgia, therefore nobody accesses to the territories, except those who have permission to do so (people working in public institutions, or those who have the residence or permission to do so)

www.viajarageorgia.com/osetia-del-sur
www.viajarageorgia.com/abjasia

And what could you tell us about safety on the streets, is it a low crime country?

I recommend the following reading also from our blog, where we talk ironically about safety. We decided to create this article because, with ignorance, many people think that because of the area where it is located, Georgia is not a safe country. And for nothing, it is a beautiful and completely safe country, highly recommended from my position, being a young entrepreneur and living in this country

Recommended article: https://viajarageorgia.com/seguridad/10-motivos-no-viajar-a-georgia-es-peligroso/

Is Georgia a country that favours entrepreneurs?

It is a country that for skilled, courageous entrepreneurs who want to undertake, travel and visit new places, is the ideal place, since it is not only attractive in terms of taxes but also allows you to “start” a business without excessive expenses since it is a country where the cost of living is one of the lowest in Europe, similar to certain Asian countries (even cheaper than many Asian countries). Although it is true that the salaries in the country are low, if your company depends on foreign clients and not only Georgians, and therefore you can opt for an economic condition, assigning you a decent salary, you can live comfortably in this country.

Batumi, Georgia

Why do you think it is still an almost unknown country for start-ups?

I don’t think so, it is true that other countries or places in the world have more publicity where they are clearly considered favorable from many points of view for startups, however at present the ecosystem of startups in Tbilisi is already 600 and growing. In my case, I can tell you that from tuempresaengeorgia.com we receive dozens of requests, questions, and interest from Hispanics (mainly from Spain) with intentions of coming to this part of the world to live and start their own business.

In addition Georgia is witnessing an increase in interest from digital entrepreneurs and, very skillfully, have created a new mechanism VERY ATTRACTIVE for entrepreneurs called VIRTUAL ZONE, which allows to have the conditions of an LLC mentioned above, and also other advantages such as:

  • Not paying 18% VAT
  • Not paying 15% tax on the dividend, paying only 5% on the profit

Of course not all companies can benefit from this form of virtual area and is a procedure that from tuempresaengeorgia.com help to make.

What features would you highlight of its tax system?

The above, in addition to the tax benefits, the facilities to create a company, the speed of acceptance and implementation.

What could you tell us about real estate investments in Georgia, do you think it is a good time to acquire real estate?

Regarding investments, the above mentioned, not only in real estate investments but also inland and even loans.
And regarding the moment, unquestionably, it is an interesting moment to value the acquisition of properties at lower prices due to the situation, although in my personal opinion, now it would be advisable to have the maximum cash flow possible and to sell as many properties as you have and do not need or do not generate income. This is my personal opinion, and regardless of the situation and country in which they are.

Anyway, if there are investment options, Georgia is an attractive place, but I would start with another type of investment (agricultural or loan) before real estate since tourism right now is in a somewhat uncomfortable situation and the rent would be lower because of the property.

Could you tell us about the character of Georgians in general, how they usually perceive foreigners?

In general, Georgians are always open and close to foreigners who visit their lands. Like everything else in life, there are exceptions and specific cases. If your trip is atypical and you carry out activities outside the law, obviously you will have the due consequences of the law in a country where it looks much at the security, as we have spoken to you. The main cities like Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, and Rustavi are practically free from any kind of danger, being the main tourist attractions. But don’t worry, if you want to make your visit to another level and do something more atypical (a less touristy plan) you have incredible options. Horseback riding, biking, and many other plans that will make your experience unforgettable.

Is it also a country recommended for women who go solo?

Unquestionably, all of the above positively impacts both sexes indistinctly, in fact, I know great European entrepreneurs who are offering their services for clients from different countries, living in Georgia and very comfortable with their situation in this country. Besides, we “expats” are people who relate to both local and international people and receive support, help, and positivity from both sides, not only from the international side. The locals love to offer hospitality and they love to meet motivated and talented people who come to their country to undertake.

Tbilisi, Georgia

Is it essential to know the Georgian language to start a business there, is there a good level of English among the population?

It is not necessary at all, because to open a company or any documentation to be done (opening a bank account, getting your Georgian SIM card or even going to the gym), or any relationship with potential Georgian clients can be done perfectly in English.

As far as people with disabilities are concerned, is it complicated to start there, is there good infrastructure or are there any kind of facilities?

Georgia is a mountainous country, small and although it is true that it tries to improve in many aspects day by day, perhaps they do not have the best accessibility or facilities for people with disabilities, for example in the metro (I do not know of any metro with a lift, but some do have their facilities for people with disabilities). The bus does have its necessary equipment but in general walking the streets of Tbilisi, for a person with a disability, can be a difficult task. On many occasions the capital is under construction, the streets are half done (as many buildings are being built and renovated) and perhaps it would not be the most comfortable for the disabled person. It will be something that they will change since as I know, they are investing in the improvement of facilities and equipments, for example recently they have changed many intercity buses for more ecological, new and with everything necessary. I send you an article about it https://agenda.ge/en/news/2019/3301

Finally, tell us about the services you provide

At tuempresaengeorgia.com we help everyone, regardless of the country where you currently reside (although most customers are Hispanic, Latin American countries and mainly from Spain) and help them create their business in Georgia, as well as resolve any questions related to the country, any legal and or tax issues. You can find all our services and information here: http://tuempresaengeorgia.com/servicios

You can consult us what you want and contact us at crea@tuempresaengeorgia.com
WhatsApp +995 599890261
Or also by the form on the website http://tuempresaengeorgia.com/contacto

Finally, if you want to know the updated status of the CORONAVIRUS in the country, you have all the updated information here: https://viajarageorgia.com/salud/coronavirus/ (Spanish) – https://stopcov.ge/en/EntryRules (English)

Travel tips to Georgia

Kutaisi, Georgia

Tourist visa

Free 1-year visa – Georgia has one of the best visa policies in the world, as you get one year’s free visa upon arrival in the country. This year is automatically renewed once you leave and re-enter

When to travel to Georgia

Tbilisi can be visited all year round because even in winter it is not very cold and you will not meet many tourists. Summers in Tbilisi is very hot, but it is the best time to enjoy the rest of the country.

Visiting Georgia in winter – Georgia has a couple of ski resorts, they are fine for those who live in Dubai and other hot spots, as it is the best ski resort nearby.
Visiting Georgia in spring – The mountains are in bloom and the good weather is starting, but it might be a little early for trekking in the Georgian Caucasus.
Visiting Georgia in summer – The best time to go trekking and visit the Black Sea coast.
Visiting Georgia in autumn – The harvest time is in the middle of September, so for wine lovers, this is the best time to visit the Kajeti region.

How to get to Georgia

How to travel to Georgia by plane

Via Tbilisi – Tbilisi has many connections to Europe, some Asian destinations, and many cities in the Middle East.
Via Kutaisi – In Kutaisi is the airport that has flights from Wizzair that connect to many cities in Europe.

How to travel to Georgia by land

Russia – The only border that is officially open is the one in Kazbegi.
Azerbaijan – There are two official borders, one closer to Tbilisi, which can be crossed by train, and one in the Kajeti region. Both are friendly and easy to cross.
Armenia – You can choose from three borders, depending on your destination.
Turkey – There are two open borders.
Ukraine – You can travel to Georgia by ferry from Odesa in Ukraine. There are two companies that operate (Ukrferry, and Ferrysped)

Tbilisi

Tbilisi, Georgia

It’s the capital of Georgia. It is a very comfortable city to visit and it is all well connected.

It is an unknown city for many Europeans – for the moment – but I have no doubt that in a few years it will be one of the next fashionable tourist destinations.

The most comfortable option to get from the airport to the center is to hire a transfer from the airport to your hotel, you will avoid getting on and off the bus, taxis, etc.

It is a friendly and quiet city where you can walk and enjoy tradition and modernity. The new buildings like the Peace Bridge, the Rike auditorium or the mushroom-shaped building of the National Bank of Georgia caught my attention.

This is where the Silk Road used to run, strategically located between Europe and Asia

Kutaisi

Kutaisi is the third-largest city of Georgia, in the Imereti province of Western Georgia, 221 km west of Tbilisi
Kutaisi was founded about 4 millennia ago and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In this city you can find the cradle of the ancient Georgian civilization, the church of Gelati with the most beautiful frescos of Georgia and a spectacular surrounding nature
Kutaisi is a very quiet and very safe town. You will only have to take the precautions you would take in your own city.

Batumi

Batumi, Georgia

Batumi, the capital of Ayaria, is a tourist and port city on the shores of the Black Sea. Batumi boulevard includes a promenade, a park and a beach. The Alphabet Tower, 130 m high, is decorated with the Georgian alphabet and has a viewpoint overlooking the sea. The old town is dotted with restored buildings dating from the 19th century. To the north of the city, the Batumi botanical garden has examples of flora from all over the world.

It is not very common to find a city with a diversity of religions, casinos, palm trees, the sea, the snow-capped mountains of the Caucasus, a dolphinarium and an original and surprising modern architecture packed into such a small area.
The nearby Mtirala National Park or the Keda mountain region are impressive, with magnificent mountains, lush forests, wild rivers, hidden waterfalls and stone bridges built centuries ago. This is a completely different world from Batumi located only a short walk away.
You must visit Batumi at least once to try khachapuri de ajara, a dish specific to this region where the dough is molded into the shape of a boat and covered with butter and raw eggs to be served together. A real delight.

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