On top of Mount Mtatsminda, overlooking Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi, the country’s future innovation is being prepared as today meets tomorrow.
Let me tell you about Tech Park of Georgia!
I recently visited there with some World Bank colleagues. We were hosted by Mariam Lashkhi, a former colleague who now leads the Department of International Relations at Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA) overseeing the Tech Park. Mariam, who was involved in the development of Georgia’s Competitiveness and Innovation Project while at the Bank, gave us a brief history of GITA, created in 2013.
It all began with an idea to support Georgia’s government and the private sector in advancing innovation-led growth of key sectors of economy. Ultimately, the goal was to drive competitiveness and ensure longer-term sustainable growth, with a focus on job creation.
After GITA was formed, many young Georgians came forward with a range of bright ideas. Events such as innov-a-thons, creathons, game jams, youth innovation summits, FabLabs, and the opening of the GeoLab revealed that .
Tech Park of Georgia opened just a few months ago. The building unites small incubators, training centers, laboratories equipped with ultra-modern machines, a digital library, show-rooms of world-famous tech-companies, and a conference area.
GITA is also responsible for implementing a new Georgia National Innovation Ecosystem (GENIE) Project, which was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on March 18. The project encompasses “investments in regional and community innovation centers, enabling wider adoption of Internet by households and small businesses, developing digital economy skills and capacity of businesses to be innovative, and improving access to finance for innovators”.
The GENIE project will play an important role in supporting the Georgian Government’s strategy to build a competitive and innovative economy that is ready for the future.
Robots, drones, mobile applications, selfie-sticks, 5D, smartwatches, or bluesmart suitcases, perhaps? For my grandmother in her nineties, it was “the wireless phone”. For me, however, it is “Tech Park”.
Photos: Leonid Mujiri/World Bank