Crystal and IFC Join Forces to support Ukrainian Forcibly Displaced Persons

The financial inclusion organization Crystal and International Finance Corporation (IFC) join forces to support business activities of Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs) from Ukraine currently residing in Georgia on permanent or temporary basis.

As part of the cooperation, the Ukrainian refugees will gain access to financial products and services tailored to their specific needs, as well as benefit from business consulting and mentoring opportunities resulting in increased access to finance and well supported entrepreneurship.

IFC experts together with Crystal team have already conducted series of focus groups with Ukrainian refugees in Tbilisi and Batumi to pinpoint their needs, identify and eliminate existing barriers in the lending cycle and simplify the process. The initiatives identified for the benefit of Ukrainian refugees will be based on the collected practical feedback.

“Crystal’s founders and members of the management board have taken the same path as a result of the war in Abkhazia as the one that many Ukrainians are going through now. We clearly understand how challenging it must be to ensure access to finance for them, and how important this aspect is for the social and economic integration. This was the main driver for our decision to support Ukrainian entrepreneurs by offering special services to them,” said Ilia Revia, CEO of Crystal.

“Starting a smaller business offers an opportunity for forcibly displaced persons from Ukraine to both secure employment and offer jobs to others. Access to finance and the right products and services is key to supporting these entrepreneurs and helping them build resilience in their host countries. That’s why IFC is eager to share its global expertise in bolstering financial inclusion with the Crystal team,” said Ivana Fernandes Duarte, IFC’s Regional Manager for South Caucasus.

Crystal is one of the first financial institutions across Europe to start offering business and startup loans to Ukrainian refugees relocated after February 24, 2022. Furthermore, Ukrainian refugees have the opportunity to take advantage of –leasing providing simplified access to different products and equipment. It is noteworthy that FDP women from Ukraine also have access to “Crystal Consulting” – business counseling and mentoring program. The new cooperation with IFC is built upon the gained experience. Within the framework of the partnership, already existing products will also be analyzed and appropriate modifications will be moved to reflect the recommendations of Ukrainian customers. As a result, they will become attractive and accessible to even more people. In the future, it is also planned to optimize the consulting direction.