An Innovative Georgian Clothing Brand Increases Recruitment of Persons with Disabilities with EU Support
Adaptive multi-brand clothing company Kombinizona retains its employees and recruits more persons with disabilities despite COVID-19 crisis.
Clusters4Development project helped Kombinizana purchase 19 pieces of sewing equipment that allows the company to meet new capacity needs. The project is funded by the European Union under its EU4Business Initiative and the German Government, implemented by GIZ. It continues to support Georgian apparel industry in coping with COVID-19 crisis. Due to the project support to Kombinizona, the company is now able to increase the number of personnel and recruit ten more persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Kombinizona is a potential member of the business cluster – Sustainable Apparel Made in Georgia – currently being established with support of the Clusters4Development project.
“With Kombinezona’s strong focus on social responsibility, which is at the core of the brand, the company brings fresh, innovative and eco-friendly approaches to the Georgian apparel industry that EU promotes and encourages. We are delighted that, through our support, the company not only retained its personnel at this time of crisis, but also created new employment opportunities” – says Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.
Kombinizona is a social enterprise, part of a successful startup ISF Georgia – a company that introduces innovation and inclusion in Georgian apparel manufacturing. 30% of its income is spent on social initiatives. Kombinizona is the first brand of adaptive fashionable clothing in Georgia which produces therapeutic clothing based on color perception that ISF Georgia relies on. Kombinizona offers colorful, functional and comfortable clothing for children, pregnant women and people with disabilities. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the company has introduced a certified medical protective face mask line.
“Promotion of inclusivity across the Georgian fashion industry is a central pillar of our company as we are not only producing clothing for PWDs, but also providing them with the opportunities to work with us, become part of the Kombinizona family” – says Gano Melitauri, co-founder and CEO of Kombinizona. – “Constant innovation is what drives our work and allows us to be a different player on the Georgian market. We champion social entrepreneurship, local high-quality manufacturing based on high degree of environmental and social awareness. We are heartened that with the support from the EU and German development cooperation via GIZ, we can now expand our operations and recruit a higher number of PWDs.”
The company is now expanding its operational premises and among its immediate plans are further diversification of production, introduction of sub-brand lines, development of an in-house training facility and creation of more job opportunities for all. “Joining the cluster initiative will strengthen our approach in all these endeavours. We are not only looking forward to the opportunities we will gain by participating in the apparel cluster initiative, but also to the chance to contribute to the development of the apparel sector in Georgia”, says Melitauri.
Clusters4Development project is funded by the EU under its EU4Business Initiative and the German Government. It stimulates and supports development of business clusters in three sectors: apparel, construction materials and tourism. The project also works with the government entities for an improved institutional framework for cluster and business development.
EU4Business is an umbrella initiative that includes all EU support to small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the Eastern Partner countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine.
EU4Business supports SME growth through improving access to finance, easing business regulations, improving access to business support services, increasing trade opportunities. EU4Business interventions result in creating and sustaining jobs, higher SME growth and increase in SME exports.
In 2019, the EU4Business Initiative supported SME growth through 147 projects with a total budget of €872 million. Read more: www.eu4business.eu.
Thea Kentchadze, Clusters4Development, GIZ, 577-292-646, email@example.com