By Leman Mammadova
As the role of entrepreneurs has grown in the society, development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been in the spotlight of Azerbaijan’s economic policy.
Azerbaijan’s Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) will expand cooperation with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization of Turkey (KOSGEB) in order to use its rich experience in Azerbaijan, the Agency said in a message.
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Minister of Economy Niyazi Safarov and Chairman of the Agency’s Board Orkhan Mammadov met with KOSGEB Chairman Cevahir Uzkurt in Ankara. The parties discussed exchange of experiences, expansion of relations between SMEs of both countries as well as prospects of joint activities and implementation of joint projects.
At the same time, the sides informed each other in detail about their activities, support mechanisms for entrepreneurs and services rendered to them.
At the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Azerbaijan’s Agency for the Development of SMEs and KOSGEB.
During the visit, the Azerbaijani delegation also held meetings with Minister of Industry and Technology of Turkey Mustafa Varank and his deputy Cetin Ali Donmez, representatives of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, organization “Katilim Bankciligi” and Eximbank of Turkey, and leadership of the regional office of the Islamic Development Bank. At the meetings, opportunities for cooperation in relevant areas were discussed.
Small and medium-sized businesses play an important role in the development of Azerbaijan’s economy. Development of SMEs leads to the growth of entrepreneurship, which is one of the priority directions of Azerbaijan’s economic policy.
The share of SMEs in employment in Azerbaijan was 76 percent last year, and in recent years, comprehensive work has been carried out for the development of SMEs. In particular, inspections of business entities have been suspended and the process of obtaining licenses has been simplified.
The share of SMEs in Azerbaijan’s foreign trade is planned to increase to 40 percent after 2025.
The Agency for the Development of SMEs aims to ensure the consistency of reforms, as well as the improvement of the business regulation system and the application of effective coordination, enhancement of 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.
As a single structure with special powers, the Agency organizes, coordinates, evaluates and regulates the services provided by government agencies and organizations in this area through SME houses.
Recently, the Agency and Kazakhstan’s Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund have signed a memorandum of understanding and adopted a road map.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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