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Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship creative spark Georgia project case study

In the first year of the research project the start-up business Sapo was a major success story, producing homemade, natural and child-friendly soaps in the shape of animals. Sapo benefited from the project's Start-Up Incubator, increasing its production and sales, and went onto become an international winner in the creative category of the Big Idea Challenge 2019. In addition to gaining prize money, Sapo received expert mentoring and an invitation to the Startup Sprint led by London Accelerator.

The second year of the project saw even greater successes. Many companies took part in a Business Clinic, designed to offer new businesses one-on-one guidance from business experts, and a Start-Up Bootcamp hosted by BTU to help new businesses formulate business plans. Notable companies that used these opportunities to develop included Phubber (a digital marketplace for buying and selling clothes), Villam App and Hardware (a digital solution for farm and cattle disease management), Unikeys (an app for the hospitality sector) and Elven Technologies (a business that creates technologically advanced personal protection suits).

Thanks to the project's support, Phubber are now exploring international business opportunities, Villam App and Hardware received an invitation to pitch for funding at the Global Startup Foundation's Entrepreneurship Summit and Elven Technologies won the Georgia IDEAFEST Competition and earned £1,000 prize money to develop their business idea further and turn their prototype into a final product. Perhaps most impressively of all, Unikeys won a 'digital demo day' and were rewarded with a chance to meet potential investors through the prestigious Georgia Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA).

Creative Spark Georgia Joint Research Advisory Group

The Henley-BTU Joint Advisory Research Group is an international collaborative joint research group that seeks to:

- Engage in research that promotes entrepreneurial businesses in both the UK and Georgia

- Deepen student engagement with the practice of entrepreneurship in Georgia and the UK, with particular focus on Georgia

- Provide opportunities for student entrepreneurs to engage in cross-border collaborations between Georgia and the UK

This group is funded by the British Council under the Creative Spark programme, with a membership consisting of faculty at both Henley Business School and BTU. Four colleagues from Henley Business School and four from BTU kickstarted the Joint Advisory Research Group, with Dr Lebene Soga as Chair. The full membership and roles are as stated below:

Dr Lebene Soga - Chair

Ms Kesi Katsitadze - Co-chair

Dr Yemisi Bolade-Ogunfodun - Research lead, UK

Dr Anlan Chen - Research lead, UK

Ms Rita Nasr - Research support officer, UK

Ms Tamar Japaridze - Research lead, Georgia

Ms Annie Vashakmadze - Research lead, Georgia

Ms Mariam Lashki - Research lead, Georgia

The activities of the group aim for research insights on the entrepreneurial knowledge gaps for accessing international markets and cross-border collaborations among student entrepreneurs in both UK and Georgia.

Authors Dr Lebene Soga