Ekaterine Maisuradze: What you need to know before you start a business
How to expand your business
Interview By Srishti Kapor
Dr. Ekaterine Maisuradze is the Founder & CEO at the holding company International Relations Centre (IRC), Founder & CEO at Georgia and Asia-Africa Chamber of Commerce (GAACC), Founder & President at Union of Business Ladies (UBL), and President at BPW International Tbilisi, Georgia. Ekaterine has a solid educational background as she holds titles of Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and is currently pursuing a PhD in Business Administration. Though a doctor by profession, she has always had an interest in business and an aspiration to promote Georgia, a small country with limitless opportunities. Nowadays she supports business ventures that expand economic prosperity and opportunities worldwide. This resulted in her becoming the first Georgian to organize Global Business Forums in 2017 and 2018. She has published many articles in various newspapers and journals and her media appearances include Forbes Georgia, Business Media Georgia, Diplomat Georgia, and JAKO FM Georgia. Ekaterine has received numerous awards while achieving commendable fame as a successful entrepreneur in Georgia as well as internationally. She has the business network among Georgia, Asia, and Africa expanded since the founding
GAACC? Have you seen change and growth after implementing your mission?
The Core Mission of founding the Georgia and Asia-Africa Chamber of Commerce (GAACC) always was and still remains to expand and enhance economic, cultural, and social relations between Georgia and the countries in Asia and Africa. Although Georgia is a small country, it has vast opportunities in terms of interesting investment ideas and providing various useful products. Therefore, it is believed to be quite an appealing destination, especially for Africa. The African continent is quite attractive for us due to its population number and the things they have to offer. Our priority is to assist in import-export issues and showcase all the possible opportunities in these fields.
How much cultural difference do you feel among business owners from Georgia, Asia, and Africa?
Generally, every country has its own culture, religion, and traditions, which are often tightly interwoven with their business attitudes and approaches. Therefore, before starting a business relationship with any country one ought to thoroughly explore the certain country’s background and study their culture as well as be well-aware of their business maneuvers and tactics to prevent any misunderstanding during the communication. Secondly, it’s equally important to be a good negotiator and find a trustworthy and loyal business partner to be reassured in your plans and minimize the risks of failure or loss.
Do business people from various nationalities feel comfortable and trustful while collaborating with each other?
It is crucial to consider a particular country’s attitudes and style of their business commitments. Finding a suitable pattern of communication and having a cordial relationship with a business partner is important as well since the key factors for a successful negotiation are honesty and the ability to make correct decisions swiftly, wisely, and smartly. Based on my years of personal experience of communicating with different nationalities, I would strongly recommend being attentive and finding the information before starting to trust anyone involved in the business. One should also be prepared for different ways of collaboration and compromise self-centred interests to see the large picture.
Do you have plans to expand GAACC beyond Asia and Africa? Are there other potential markets for helping Georgian businesses grow?
Historically, Georgia always used to have strong economical, business, and cultural relations with Asia generally because our country is located at the very crossroads of Europe and Asia and has mixed influence from both parts of the world. Nowadays, both markets, Asian and African ones are equally interesting and important for Georgia to expand its possibilities and discover new opportunities since both regions have lots to offer to the rest of the world. Africa is a new location for us, and thus I do believe, our connection with African countries will gradually increase and become more intense based on our current endeavors and limitless enthusiasm. GAACC has already established intense relations with several countries. However, our primary goal is to expand our networking, have official representations in various countries, and truly connect continents without borders.
What common challenges do you face working for the GAACC?
It is a rule that any business comes with a number of challenges and a true leader is the one who is never afraid of the new normal and always embraces the encountered opportunities on the way. Right from the beginning, we, at GAACC, had an aspiration to be outstanding from the rest of the chambers of commerce in terms of our unique approach and get ourselves fully engaged in any process of the services offered by us; including import-export, suggesting different views and ideas, and being much more active and effective through our means of strategies. Initially, the biggest challenges were to find GAACC’s own niche on the global market, become quite distinctive due to our outlooks, and raise awareness of the importance of chambers of commerce and their roles.
As the founder of the Union of Business Ladies, what do you feel about women entrepreneurs and their strategies regarding running a business, is there a difference?
Based on my life and work experience, I can say that any business led by a woman, is more stable, sustainable, and result-oriented while involving less conflict. For women, the number one priority is comfort, care, and peace. That is the reason their businesses are always a perfect combination of the aforementioned values and have mutual understanding and respect as their foundation. Women can fully share one another’s success and stay strong during the toughest ordeals. They tend not to break easily from within and gain even more stamina. Nowadays, most of the top positions either in the state or private sector in Georgia are occupied by women. One of the vivid examples is that we have a woman President and quite a few government ministers are women as well. I assume, today the world believes in girl power more than ever since we have the unique ability of empowerment.