First Business Meetings with German Companies Despite Corona

Speaking for many MP participants from Azerbaijan and Georgia, entrepreneur Zhala Mammadova from Baku summed up her feelings: "I wish I could have participated in the program offline". Still despite the special circumstances of digital training, all 19 participating executives declared "Fit for Partnership with Germany" programme in spring a success.

Entrepreneurs from both countries took advantage of the numerous opportunities to conduct initial talks with potential German business partners. Avtandil Kraveishvili, director and chief acoustic consultant of Georgian service provider Akustiko from Tbilisi, hopes to work with several partners – a German university, a scientific institute and a company based in North Rhine-Westphalia – to bring the Georgian standards and norms in his field up to a European level.

Tahmina Huseynova from Pasha Life Insurance in Baku viewed the Manager Training Programme as an excellent chance to identify German partners who could provide the know-how needed to advance digitization at her insurance company. She found the right partner in a Bavarian firm, as the initial conversation and subsequent correspondence showed. After an online meeting, Fardi Hasanli, managing director of Azerbaijani Komart LLC., continues to pursue his goal of importing energy-efficient heaters from a company in North Rhine-Westphalia to sell to his customers.

The virtual meetings with German company representatives also revealed how challenging it can be to initiate business relationships. Khatia Koberidze from Georgian Basalt Fibers LLC had to accept that regionally active specialized companies were not the right target group for the company’s complex insulation products. In an initial meeting with German counterpart that manufactures and sells comparable materials, the Baden-Württemberg-based company offered to test the Georgian products and then consider possible options for working together.

Niko Kululashvili, travel specialist at Georgian tourism company Exotours, also had a positive take-away from the programme. His company's website will soon be available in German and new videos of the tours offered will provide visual and vivid information to attract more German customers to travel to Azerbaijan and Georgia. Like many of his colleagues, he confirmed that the virtual MP format offered more advantages than disadvantages. "I would never have been able to leave my company for so long, so the only way I could participate in the Manager Training Programme was online," Niko Kululashvili noted.