It’s little steps forward every day that gets you to your dream,” Says Archil Elbakidze
Archil Elbakidze and his family were forced to leave homeland Abkhazia in 1993 when the first conflict broke up between Georgians and Abkhazians. Archil settled in Imereti and started life from zero point, he was working hard to save his family from starving.
Even though, Archil had rich farming experience from Abkhazia as his family's main income was coming from agriculture, succeeding in the same business in Georgia was hard for him from the beginning.
"In my homeland, fresh air, a smell of soil and seasonal harvest were everyday joys for our family. My father was a type of a farmer who was born into farming; who listened to his seedlings and was tirelessly working to have a better harvest. Regardless of my small age, I was always trying to help him in our farm. Every day my father was craving to ignite a love of nature in me and I can say that he truly succeeded in it," says Archil Elbakidze.
Settling down in Imereti, he first tried to grow potatoes but very soon, he saw that potatoes harvest was very law and could not satisfy even basic needs of his family.
"Potatoes yields never exceeded 100 kg which wasn't enough, I tried growing some other agricultural products but I wasn't satisfied with results. Finally, I shifted to strawberries, which I believed had better growth potential than any other products," says Archil.
The shift was mainly inspired by the PIN Social Support Programme. Started in 2014, it aimed at boosting the economic condition of the internally displaced population of Georgia, increasing food production and eradicating rural poverty. PIN landed a helping hand to the IDPs, assisted them to establish small enterprises thus, provided them with a unique opportunity to reshape their life.
In the framework of PIN Social support Program, the Elbakidze family land plot was subjected to soil analysis. Then they were provided with the seedlings and assisted in arranging a proper irrigation system. Today, on a sunny meadow, 1,000 strawberry seedlings promise the Elbakidze family high yields- up to one ton of the berries.
It also has to be mentioned that most of the employs of Archil Elbakidze strawberry greenhouse are IDPs, mainly woman affected by the 2008 August war.
With all this success, you think it would be easy for Archil to take a breath, sit back and enjoy his achievements. But that's not in his nature. He has recently established organization, which is helping starting entrepreneurs to sharpen their marketing skills. And Archil already thinks about his future goals.
"We are planning to grow the plot and expand our business. We also want to hire more staff so I and my family can work on other business projects." Said Archil.
Archil and his family have seen a quick rise to success, so we were intrigued what their advice would be to starting entrepreneurs:
Archil quickly said, "There isn't anything you can't do if you put your mind to it and believe in yourself. " He explains, "One thing I think people do too much is quitting too soon. It can be really tough, but if you just stick with it you'll be amazing at what you can accomplish. It's little steps forward every day that gets you to your dream."