By Rasana Gasimova
The delegation of the Azerbaijani Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) participated in the 2nd Annual Caspian Business Forum held in New York on September 24.
The event, attended by government agencies and businessmen from various countries, including Kazakhstan, Georgia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, discussed the possibilities of cooperation and prospects for development of ties in various sectors of economy.
During his speech at the forum, the Agency Chairman Orkhan Mammadov spoke about Azerbaijan’s economy, the favorable environment for business and investment in the country, and measures taken to develop entrepreneurship, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.
He noted that special attention is paid to the development of small and medium-sized businesses in Azerbaijan, and that the Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises was created to support SMEs.
The Agency informed the forum participants about its activities and its support mechanisms and services provided to entrepreneurs operating in the spheres of micro, small and medium-sized businesses. Mammadov emphasized that the Agency is interested in learning from the experiences of countries that are advanced in this field, including the United States.
The Agency delegation earlier made visits to the United States in 2018 to exchange experience in the field of SMEs. The delegation held a number of meetings, and also participated in the US-Caspian Innovation Summit held in Boston.
SMEs Development Agency is interested in cooperation with relevant US structures in the field of SMEs, as well as areas of agribusiness, electronic commerce, etc. Mutual visits of representatives of relevant structures and businessmen are important for the expansion of ties in this field. The SMEs Development Agency invites US business structures and representatives of the SME sector to Azerbaijan to invest in the country and implement joint projects.
The main task of the SMEs Development Agency is to ensure the succession of reforms, to improve the business regulation system and to enhance the role and competitiveness of SMEs in the country's economy.
The SMEs accounted for 76 percent of employment in the country in 2018, 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’s stand won 'Best social project award’ at the 2nd Azerbaijan International Exhibition of Gifts and Promo Items (Gift & Promo 2019) held in Baku on September 12-14.
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