By Rasana Gasimova
The Entrepreneurship Development Fund has so far provided 4,300 women entrepreneurs with more than 115 million manats ($67 million) worth preferential loans.
Deputy Economy Minister Niyazi Safarov said this at the Second International Women Entrepreneurs Forum titled “Horizons of New Opportunities: Green Light to Women’s Entrepreneurship” held in Baku on November 18.
“About 200,000 women In Azerbaijan are engaged in entrepreneurial activities without setting up a legal entity. Of these, 33 percent are in Baku, 17 percent in the Aran economic region, 16 percent in the Ganja-Gazakh economic region, 10 percent in the Lankaran economic region, and the rest in other regions of the country,” Safarov stressed.
The Second International Women Entrepreneurs Forum was organized by NCDES company jointly with Women's Entrepreneurship Development Association (AQSIA) with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The event provided a platform with wide opportunities for participants, as well as major cultural and tourist event in Azerbaijan.
Speaking at the forum, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov said that Azerbaijani president and the government will continue to take steps to improve the welfare of the country’s citizens within the capabilities of the country's economy.
He noted that employment is one of the main directions of improving people’s well-being.
“Azerbaijan provides special support for the development of entrepreneurship. This is the result of the policy pursued by President Ilham Aliyev and the work of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs and regarding the development of women’s entrepreneurship,” Ahmadov said.
He went on to say that Azerbaijani women are ready to show high activity in all spheres, noting that the level of women’s participation in many sectors of the economy such as in healthcare is higher than that of men’s.
“Increasing women’s social activity is one of the important parts of strengthening the democratic potential of the Azerbaijani society. Development of women entrepreneurship plays an important role in improving financial provision of families. At the same time, women contribute to the development of Azerbaijan’s economy and the overall development in the country,” Ahmadov added.
Hijran Huseynova, Chairman of the State Committee on Family, Women and Children Affairs also spoke at the event.
She said that the number of women entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan is growing every year, noting that the development of entrepreneurship among women reduces poverty, as it helps create new jobs.
“We should strengthen the processes of engaging women in educational courses. It is necessary to create opportunities for women entrepreneurs to enter new markets. It is also necessary to expand the export of products made by women-producers to the Azerbaijani trading houses functioning abroad," Huseynova said.
She added that 145 women were able to build businesses thanks to resource centers created in eight regions across the country.
Huseynova stressed that as a result of the activities of these centers, a strong network of over 6,500 women entrepreneurs has been set up.
Speaking at the event, Mammad Musayev, President of the Azerbaijan National Confederation of Entrepreneurs` (Employers) Organizations, Alessandro Fracasetti, Representative of the United Nations Development Program in Azerbaijan, Orkhan Mammadov, chairman of the board of the Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) noted that women play an important role and are actively engaged in business activities.
It was also noted that increasing large representation of women in micro, small and medium-sized businesses is important in terms of socio-economic development and employment. Women make up approximately 20 percent of individual entrepreneurs in the country.
The forum also hosted panel discussions on the following topics: “The History of a Successful Woman" "Development of Entrepreneurship in the Arts", “Development of tourism business in Azerbaijan. Business at home", “Women Entrepreneurs: Benefits, Problems and Opportunities",” The role of business education in the development of entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan", and "Banking mechanisms to help women".
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz