By Leman Mammadova
As a part of support to the entrepreneurs’ activities, the Agency for Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) continues to enhance the role and competitiveness of SMEs in the country's economy.
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.
The Agency establishes the Friend of SMEs offices in the country as a mechanism that helps to identify and implement initiatives of SMEs, realize their potential, provide them with support at all stages of their development and protect the rights of entrepreneurs.
At present, Friends of SMEs are operating in 14 cities and regions of the country, and entrepreneurs from surrounding areas can also use their services.
The next Friend of SMEs has been launched at the State Customs Committee's Baku Customs Office.
Safar Mehdiyev, Chairman of the State Customs Committee, and Orkhan Mammadov, Chairman of the Board of SMEs, familiarized with the business process of Friend of SMEs in the administrative building of the Baku Customs Office, on July 12.
Micro, small and medium entrepreneurs using customs services will be able to use services such as information, advice, legal assistance, coordination related to customs incentives when utilizing investment and export promotion as well as import-export operations, customs clearance and procedures by applying to Friend of SMEs operating in Baku Customs Office.
The activities of Friend of SMEs in the Baku Customs Office will allow the SMEs to apply effectively within the framework of public-private partnerships with the participation of Agency for Development of SMEs and the State Customs Committee.
Together with Friend of SMEs, it will also feature "Volunteers of SMEs". Providing support to entrepreneurs engaged in the production, the new Friend of SMEs will stimulate the country’s export potential.
The activities of the Friends of SMEs are focused on a region's development potential through the creation of new SMEs and the development of the existing ones. Another key aspect of Friends of SMEs' activity is the provision of SMEs with multiple supports for their sustainable development needs. The surveys and monitoring are also important directions of the activities of Friends of SMEs.
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.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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