By Leman Mammadova
The growth of entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan is one of the priority directions of the economic policy and it is closely related to the development of small and medium-sized businesses, and in particular to the development of women's business in the country.
Azerbaijan's Women Entrepreneurs Association and Turanbank intend to closely cooperate in the development of women's entrepreneurship in various segments of the economy, Sakina Babayeva, head of the association, told Trend.
She said the association is looking for new options aimed at supporting women’s entrepreneurship, and there is certain progress in this direction.
Babayeva added that a mechanism for issuing loans through Turanbank for development of women’s entrepreneurship has already been launched.
"The conditions for issuing loans are quite optimal," she said. "For example, loans worth up to 2,000 manats are issued without any collateral for women starting their businesses. Loans worth 2,000-5,000 manats are issued upon a letter of guarantee from the association, and loans worth 5,000-10,000 manats require a pledged collateral. We applied with a similar offer to most banks, but unfortunately, we were supported by only one bank in Baku."
She said that in line with the tasks of the association, in the next three years, women’s entrepreneurship should cover important segments of the agriculture sector, as well as priority sectors of the economy.
It should be noted that Azerbaijan Women Entrepreneurs Association was established with the support of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs in October 2017, primarily aimed at strengthening the role of women in the field of entrepreneurship, as well as the dynamic development of small and medium-sized businesses in Azerbaijan.
For a short period of work, the Association has concluded memorandums of cooperation with the associations of women entrepreneurs of Georgia, Latvia and Russia, and plans to expand the cooperation with similar organizations in various states in the territory of the former Soviet Union.
Every day, the role of women in entrepreneurship and their number grows in the world.
Azerbaijan in recent years has taken major measures to improve the entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, despite this, today there are a number of problems, such as high taxes, problems with the sale of entrepreneurs’ products, which greatly impede the development of entrepreneurship in general.
It is particularly necessary to provide preferential loans to women entrepreneurs engaged in the agricultural sector, to further increase their contribution to the development of the economy.
Development of women’s entrepreneurship is one of the priority issues facing Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) of Azerbaijan and the Agency plans to develop incentive mechanisms for the development of the women’s entrepreneurship.
Simplifying access to financial resources for SMEs is an important aspect of the agency’s activities, as the main part of the appeals involves financing.
The agency is working on the creation of an online platform for access to finances. This platform will provide an opportunity for online communication between financial institutions and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to present their projects to all interested parties online, and this will also minimize the loss of time.
The Agency for Small and Medium Business Development of Azerbaijan was established in 2017 to ensure the consistency of reforms, as well as the improvement of the business regulation system and the application of effective coordination, enhancing the role and competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses in the country's economy, and the compliance of the management system of this sphere with modern requirements.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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