Social capital of Turkish entrepreneurs in Georgia

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Press
The paper describes the social capital of Turkish businessmen in Georgia. The research methodology is based on a conceptual approach, in which doing business is based on three main pillars – human capital, social capital and business support mechanisms. The basic dimensions of human capital are language skills and education; Social capital – information network, relationship with local people; and dimensions of business characteristics and supporting factors are business size, experience, start-up capital, legislation, risks and strategies for risk avoidance. Based on this concept, a questionnaire was developed and semi-structured interviews were conducted with a Turkish residents founders of 45 enterprises in Georgia. As our research shows, Turkish-based companies in Georgia do not have the necessary and sufficient resources to scale up production. Entrepreneurs strive to find support, and establish contacts through networks to acquire production resources. In doing so, they focus on owning social capital. Owning social capital is important for migrant businessmen as it is a tool that enables immigrants to develop economic and social relationships on a wider scale. It has revealed that the businesses of Turkish businessmen in Georgia are based on the existing attractive environment in Georgia and their expect to continue their business in the long run. Using of their experience and education can have a positive impact on the development of the Georgian economy. Relationships with local people and friends are important in supporting their businesses, but it is hampered by the key barriers such as language differences, cultural diversity (especially in the restaurant sector), and lack of information. Mutual assistance through networks of friends and relatives is a way of reaching state institutions on legal and tax matters and is a tactic for participating in public procurement, as well as a key strategy to overcome various obstacles and ensure sustainability. Key factors for Turkish businessmen to do business and integrate with Georgian environment are knowledge of the Georgian language, availability of social networks and access to state institutions. Learning the Georgian language is a requirement of Turkish businessmen, and the introduction of programs in this area will significantly facilitate their integration into Georgia. In addition to language, which is an important factor for doing business and building relationships with state institutions, social networks are essential resources for Turkish businessmen to empower them. Through personal relationships, they integrate with Georgian business environment. It is based on both – informal relationships of Turkish businessmen with each other and on their relationships with local business associations and local communities. These networks greatly reduce cultural differences and the negative impact of other factors. Networks are their sources of information. In this respect, social capital of Turkish businessmen relies on assistance from informal networks. The attitude of Turkish entrepreneurs to local communities and businesses is loyal and friendly. They use this relationship only to some extent.
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Social Capital, Entrepreneurship, Turkey, Georgia
The 4th International Scientific Conference: "Challenges of Globalization in Economics and Business", Tbilisi, 2019, pp. 157-162