Workshop on gender-sensitive Energy Cooperatives in Georgia
The workshop conducted by WECF, Belgian energy cooperative Energie2030 and GREENS Region took place in Khoni from 9th to 11th of July. It was about successful management of energy cooperatives, business models and ways of product marketing.
July 25, 2016
Participants of the workshop were members of the four newly established energy cooperatives and representatives of WECF as well as Patrick Kelleter, CEO of Belgian energy cooperative Energie2030.
Firstly, female cooperative members presented their results of first day’s discussions and all members of cooperatives exchanged successes and problems. After that, participants visited the production site for SWHs of the cooperative Charte Mze (“Switch to the sun”) in Ivandidi.
Patrick Kelleter presented information about the establishment, management and administration of cooperatives. He highlighted several times how important good business and financial plans are in order to attract paying members.
Within the next session, Patrick Kelleter shared his experience on marketing. In order to receive large public perception it is very important to have frequent publicity in Media and informative flyers.
All participants agree that it is more effective to have one common production site for SWHs, as it needs investments in machinery and building. Patrick suggested to set up an “umbrella-cooperative” where all four already established cooperatives become members. This umbrella-cooperation would buy material, be responsible for marketing and production and would get financial support. The member-cooperatives can then concentrate on selling and installing the products and other services such as insulation. A financial model for the umbrella-cooperative was worked out, engaging membership contributions from Georgian and European cooperative members and if needed bank loans.
The workshop was considered as a big step forward in the cooperative development and the four Georgian cooperatives went home with a clear task: to work out a feasible financial and business plan for a centralized production and marketing unit and viable local cooperatives.