Oiling the wheels of entrepreneurship
“Back in 2000, I was out of a job and prospects in Georgia were not too bright. There was this old oil press in the family barn, however, and that got me thinking. Fifteen years later, my sunflower oil is the pride of the family and a condiment appreciated by connoisseurs throughout the region,” Teimuraz Meqvevrishvili whispers with a hint of pride.
For fourteen of those years, Teimuraz worked with the antique press he’d inherited. It made work slower and the yield was not that good, but at least, he told himself, “that old press gives it a touch of authenticity.” Yet as demand kept rising and productivity kept falling, it became clearer and clearer to Teimuraz that he had to do something about the press. He also realised that the special authentic taste of his product came from the quality of his sunflowers, not the rusty cogs of his antediluvian press. “I was always focused on keeping costs down and that’s why I kept working the old press, demanding more and more from it. And paying more and more in repairs, which, besides being expensive, also kept me from making my oil,” he remembers.
“The people at Bank Republic were amazed it took me so long to think about investing in the future, but they also thought I had been wise to be cautious,” Teimuraz continues. In 2014, he took out his first loan and installed a new press. Result: not only more oil, but also better oil. “Demand is up, too, and I’m going to be able to hire my first employee.”