By Leman Mammadova
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.
New Friend of SMEs was launched in Khazar district of Baku on August 22. This is the 16th Friend of SMEs in the country and the second in Baku, the Agency said in a message.
Presently, Friends of SMEs are operating in 14 cities and regions of the country, and entrepreneurs from surrounding areas can also use their services.
At the event dedicated to the opening of the new Friend of SMEs office, entrepreneurs operating in Khazar district were informed about the support mechanisms and services provided by Friend of SMEs to micro, small and medium-sized businesses.
Orkhan Mammadov, Chairman of the Board of SMEs Development Agency, noted that SMEs in Khazar and neighboring districts can contact the center regarding the opening of a business, expanding existing business activities, as well as regarding protection of rights and interests.
He stressed that Friend of SMEs in the Khazar district will provide support and services to entrepreneurs in such areas as information, advice, training, legal assistance, and coordination with government departments.
Elshan Salahov, Head of the Khazar District Executive Power, highlighted the opportunities created in the region for the realization of economic potential and expansion of entrepreneurial activity. He noted that relevant support will be provided to entrepreneurs in the district.
A presentation on the concept of Friend of SMEs was also held. The event participants got acquainted with the Friend of SMEs office, which will operate in the youth house of the Khazar district.
Here, all the necessary conditions have been created to provide appropriate services and support to entrepreneurs. “Volunteers of SMEs” will also operate within the Friend of SMEs office.
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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