Press Release: U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and Gazelle Finance Launch Facility to Support Ukrainian Companies Displaced by War
U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Gazelle Finance announced an economic recovery facility to provide technical assistance to Ukrainian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) whose businesses have been negatively impacted by the war. The new facility builds upon an existing DFC investment in Gazelle, which provides capital to SMEs in key sectors in the South Caucasus, including Georgia, to boost development. The purpose of the new facility is to help Ukrainian companies with business continuity and stability support and develop an operational nexus and new markets in the South Caucasus region for their products and services, including Georgia. The intended outcome is to not only provide safe harbor to these companies’ workers who have already been displaced by the war, but to enable these companies to continue to grow their businesses, and rapidly adapt and expand to new markets to enhance revenue streams, which are severely impacted by the war.
“DFC’s technical assistance facility with Gazelle Finance provides direct economic support to displaced Ukrainians in Georgia through private sector investment, particularly for SMEs that already face major barriers to accessing financing,” said DFC CEO Scott Nathan. “The facility will help enable Ukrainian companies to navigate this difficult period. Over time, the facility will protect jobs and create new market opportunities to grow their businesses.”
Since Russia’s war in Ukraine started, more than 50,000 Ukrainians have relocated to Georgia, many of whom are highly skilled professionals who work remotely for leading Ukrainian companies, particularly in the technology sector. Georgia has a rank of #7 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rating and a highly favorable tax regime. This combined with the information technology cluster that has emerged in the South Caucasus region, including Tbilisi makes this a natural market for Ukrainian entrepreneurs.
“Gazelle Finance is fortunate to have DFC as an investor in our fund because they are one of the few institutional investors actively supporting private sector investment across the Eurasia region” said Jeffrey Liebert, CEO of Gazelle Finance. “DFC, working alongside our other investors FMO and DGGF, were able to rapidly respond to this economic crisis that emerged in the region as result of the war in Ukraine; they recognize that the economic recovery in Ukraine starts now, and that the neighboring Eastern Partnership Countries will play a critical bridge role in supporting Ukrainian SMEs to continue to sustain their businesses.”
The partnership between DFC and Gazelle Finance benefits from long-term support by USAID Georgia, which also provided grant support to Gazelle Finance portfolio companies in Georgia to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 21, 2022 a Gazelle Finance portfolio company and DFC financing beneficiary, Fruit Logistics, hosted a signing ceremony for the new technical assistance facility. A wholly woman-owned business and leading cold storage company for fresh produce, Fruit Logistics is a leader in Tbilisi’s business community and representative of the partnership between DFC, USAID, and Gazelle. DFC and USAID support for Gazelle and the new technical assistance facility announced today show long-term U.S. support for Georgia’s private sector.