Playtime Turns into Business

Woman entrepreneur creates a life-changing product for kids

June 5, 2023
Madona, Beso and Liza molding the playdough

Madona, Beso and Liza molding the playdough

Photo: UNDP/Leli Blagonravova

Two kids at a table, molding playdough into colourful creations, with their hands full, they squish the dough into all sorts of shapes and sizes - it's a classic playtime scene. For Madona Beinashvili and her two children, seven-year-old Beso and six-year-old Liza, it's a daily pastime that brings the family closer together and helps Beso, who is on the autism spectrum, develop communication and sensory skills.

As Madona joined the Women Entrepreneurs Development Programme, powered by UNDP, the Bank of Georgia, and Sweden, family fun turned into a business. Beso and Liza's playdough "BeLi for Kids", is now a successful small enterprise that brings joy to children all over Georgia.

For Madona Beinashvili, entrepreneur and mother of two, her passion for creating a product that helps children with special needs became her driving force. Her creation, "BeLi for Kids," is a game-changer in the world of sensory play, a natural playdough that provides a fun experience and a valuable therapeutic tool. Madona's entrepreneurial journey began with a simple desire to help her son and has since evolved into a journey that benefits children and elders with special needs.

“My playdough is colourful, attractive and completely safe to eat. While it is extra salty for kids not to like the taste, parents can be confident that their children are not in danger if they happen to nibble on it,” Madona says.

Madona's son, Beso, is her inspiration for her creative endeavours. In the beginning, she noticed how much he enjoyed playing with the dough and how it helped with his sensory needs. When Beso's teachers and therapists saw the playdough, they loved it, mentioning that it would be beneficial for children with special needs. Madona was happy to hear that she could help others and got the idea to start a business. At that time, she didn't have a brand yet and didn’t have much experience.

Just in time for her entrepreneurial journey to begin, Madona discovered a Women Entrepreneurs’ Development Programme, rolled out by UNDP in partnership with the Bank of Georgia and with assistance from Sweden. The innovative business training sessions are tailored for women entrepreneurs, offering them 360-degree support in mastering business management and getting access to funds and partnership networks.

Kids development game "BeLi for Kids"

BeLi for Kids

Photo: UNDP/Leli Blagonravova

Madona recalls that the Women Entrepreneurs’ Development Programme was one of the reasons for her to gain the courage and start a business. “I put what I learned in the sessions into action – creating a Facebook page, revamping my packaging, and implementing the sales tactics taught during the training.” 

And so “BeLi for Kids was born, and now her product is available for purchase on Facebook, where exciting promotions are regularly offered to her growing customer base. However, Madona's determination doesn't stop there. She also engages with customers at street markets throughout Tbilisi, expanding her reach and connecting with the local community.

“The feedback I receive from my customers, their photos, videos and positive emotions, inspires me to add more colours, use brighter packaging, and make my playdough even more fun and engaging,” Madona says.

Madona and Liza molding the playdough

Madona and Liza molding the playdough

Photo: UNDP/Leli Blagonravova

Madona's youngest, Liza, is her chief cheerleader. She loves helping her Mom with packaging and choosing colour pallets. Madona hopes that as her business grows, they will have a physical space to showcase their product and attract more customers.

Madona's dedication to helping children and those with special needs is truly inspiring. Her passion for her product is evident in the quality of "BeLi for Kids." Her journey is an example of how obstacles can be transformed into opportunities with the right mindset.

According to a study titled "Men, Women, and Gender Relations in Georgia: Public Perceptions and Attitudes" (2020), 85 percent of women in Georgia believe that they have to face more obstacles in their career paths than men, underscoring the importance of increasing women's participation in the country's economy. Empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs, especially those lacking any business experience, is essential to spur Georgia's economic growth and development. 

The Women Entrepreneurs Development Programme is designed to do just that, giving motivated individuals the tools and knowledge to start successful ventures. Madona's determination to turn her passion into a successful business has not only created a valuable product that benefits children but also contributes to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Georgia. With determination and the right support, women like Madona can create lasting change and drive Georgia's economy forward.

The Swedsen-funded UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality assists Georgia in making social, economic and policy strides toward achieving meaningful gender equality in every area of life. The programme is implemented jointly by three UN agencies – UNDP, UNFPA and UN Women.