Georgia: Optical entrepreneur makes ambitious plans for innovation with EU support

07-03-2019

“Leonardo da Vinci was one of the first to describe, with almost complete precision, the anatomy of the eye and optical system in the 15th century. He is perceived as the biggest innovator in modern science, and not only in science,” Tekla Mamageishvili, Director of a Tbilisi-based eye clinic, explains when asked about the name of her company.

Tekla is sure that her Da Vinci Clinic will become a leader in ophthalmological innovation in the South Caucasus.

Live video streams from eye surgery, operations using modern 3D technology – these are just a few of the clinic’s achievements so far that Tekla considers successful.

“The experience gathered and determination of the team gave birth to the more ambitious idea to create a new and far more innovative international ophthalmology centre,” says Tekla. The clinic intends to establish an eye research institute.

Until then, however, there are long lines of patients at Tekla’s clinic. Dozens of patients come to the clinic every day.  

“Our main challenge today is the improvement of service efficiency and development in the direction of refractive surgery. Lots of patients contacted the clinic and we understood that we may encounter human resource and technical/software deficiency,” says Tekla. She says the EU-supported 'Women in Business' programme, implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), helped her to plan the activities of the company strategically and attract financial resources.
 

Funded by the European Union, Sweden, EBRD Early Transitions Countries Fund and Small Business Impact Fund under its EU4Business initiative, the programme supports small and medium-sized enterprises run by women to access the finance and know-how needed for their growth. The EBRD has been cooperating with the clinic since 2016. The company received support in the form of consultancy services, as the clinic was preparing for expansion. The company needed the project for a feasibility study and an investment plan.

According to the director of the clinic, they have already found a plot of land in one of the central districts of Tbilisi where they will build the new clinic, using a combination of their own capital and a bank loan.

“The Women in Business project helped us to use the services of an experienced consulting company. They assessed the current value of the clinic and prepared a development plan with predictive financial reports that we used to attract necessary funds. The organisational and marketing recommendations implemented resulted in significant stabilisation of revenues, while the business plan prepared in the framework of the consulting project helped us to receive a rather low-interest bank loan.”

In addition to providing patient services, the clinic’s staff will also help colleagues working in Georgia and overseas to improve their knowledge.

The clinic already hosts seminars in ophthalmology and other major medical specialties every Wednesday, including topics related to patients’ health.

Author: Giorgi Diasamidze

Article published in Georgian by Netgazeti.ge