By Rasana Gasimova
The Agency for Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) continues to support non-oil sector of the Azerbaijani economy. Thanks to projects aimed at establishing local production implemented by the Agency, the country’s employment rates and the number of entrepreneurs increase.
The public council Azerbaijan’s Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) organized another forum titled "Transparency of Small and Medium-Sized Entities in Financial Markets: Current Situation and Prospects" on November 14.
Representatives of SMEs Agency, Central Bank, Financial Markets Supervision Chamber, Azerbaijan Banks Association, as well as various banks, non-bank credit institutions and credit unions, non-governmental organizations took part at the forum.
Current issues related to financial markets’ access to micro, small and medium-sized businesses, services provided by financial institutions, existing and alternative financing mechanisms provided by public and private organizations were discussed at the forum, and questions of entrepreneurs were answered.
Orkhan Mammadov, chairman of the board of the SMEs Agency said that the economic reforms carried out by the Azerbaijani President have entered a new stage prioritizing the development of small and medium-sized businesses and increasing their role in the economy.
He also noted that access to financial resources and provision of high-quality financial services are key to the development of small and medium-sized businesses.
Mammadov also said that one of the Agency’s main activities is to access SMEs' financial resources, as well as to link investment projects offered by entrepreneurs with financial institutions.
Ibrahim Alishov, acting chairman of the board of the Financial Market Supervisory Authority of Azerbaijan (FIMSA), Rashad Orujov, Director General of the Central Bank, Zakir Nuriyev, President of the Azerbaijan Banks Association, and Mammad Musayev President of the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs (Employers) Organizations provided information on existing funding mechanisms, measures to expand SMEs' access to financial resources, new funding mechanisms, international experience in this area, and the events held to investigate financial needs of SMEs.
Farhad Garashov, the head of the SMEs Agency’s Public Council, informed the participants about the activities of the council, saying that it arranges regular trilateral events with participation of SMEs, relevant government agencies and civil society institutions. He informed that the ideas, comments and suggestions made at the forum will be taken into account.
The forum also exhibited financial services provided by various financial institutions to micro, small and medium-sized businesses.
SMEs Development Agency aims to ensure the consistency of reforms, as well as the improvement of the business regulation system and application of effective coordination, enhancement of the role and competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses in the country's economy, and compliance of the management system of this sphere with modern requirements.
Along with domestically arranged trainings, the Agency also sends local entrepreneurs and workers abroad to gain valuable experience.
As an example, 18 entrepreneurs and managers were sent to the city of Heidelberg, Germany, in June to take training and gain work practice as part of the German-Azerbaijani joint program. Since the beginning of the program in 2009, 419 entrepreneurs and managers have undergone training and gained work practice in Germany.
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