Georgian Microfinance Lender Brings Innovative Financial Services to Rural Areas

Microfinance loans and value chain services support smallholder farmers, women and entrepreneurship in Georgia
May 29, 2018 8:25 AM ET
Press Release

TBILISI, Georgia, May 29, 2018 /3BL Media/ – Crystal, a leading Georgian microfinance lender, has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to provide access to finance – including loans and value chain services – to 30,000 new clients in rural areas of Georgia, as well as disperse 1,000 new loans for green/solar solutions and energy efficiency projects by 2020. As part of this commitment, Crystal will continue its record of fostering economic opportunity for farmers, women and micro entrepreneurs.

Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power (in 2015 dollars) as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

At present, Georgia’s financial system is dominated by commercial banks, which service the country’s business sector and urban and middle class. However, accessing finance remains one of the main obstacles for small and medium enterprises in Georgia. With more than 52 percent of Georgia’s population living in rural areas and around 30percentliving below the poverty line, commercial banks are out of reach for a large swathe of the population. Due to a lack of collateral and other guarantees usually required for lending, these communities face limited opportunities to access finance from commercial banks.

Under its BCtA commitment, Crystal is addressing these challenges head-on. By offering business loans to entrepreneurs who wish to start their own businesses, Crystal is supporting the development of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in Georgia. Additionally, Crystal is specifically targeting low-income rural populations who would otherwise be excluded from the traditional financial system and providing them with affordable loans for business, housing, agriculture, education and more.

Through its transparent, innovative and smart financial solutions tailored to the needs of its customers, Crystal has supported the economic growth and development of thousands of its customers; 65 percent of whom live in rural areas, and over half of which are women.
 
“We’re happy to welcome Crystal as BCtA’s first member company in Georgia. Its membership offers a promising example to other businesses in the region on how to achieve steady growth and have a meaningful impact in their communities by driving financial stability, promoting environmentally sustainable development and elevating living standards,” said BCtA Programme Manager, Paula Pelaez.

Crystal has demonstrated rapid growth and geographical expansion in the last decade thanks to its innovative and inclusive core business practices and its transparent and responsible management. With support from the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) and other reputable international financial institutions, Crystal regularly introduces client-focused and future-oriented products and solutions to a quickly-growing base of clients.

“Our well-organized risk management and controlling system, coupled with our strong commitment to community development, has allowed us to see a growing number of successful enterprises and happy customers. We’re proud to be distinguished not only for our quality financial services, but for our social values as well,” said Crystal Group CEO, Malkhaz Dzadzua.

For further information: 
BCtA: bctasecretariat@undp.org
Crystal: Maya Kobalia, E&S (Environmental & Social) Officer, m.kobalia@crystal.ge

BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.

About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign AffairsSwedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)Swiss Agency for Development and CooperationUK Department for International DevelopmentUS Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.

About Crystal: MFO Crystal is fast growing, dynamic and a leading Georgian Non-Bank Microfinance Institution supporting micro and small business sectors and working towards sustainable economic development. The company supports entrepreneurs, smallholder farmers and women in realizing their business potential, reaching financial stability and elevating living standards.