By Rasana Gasimova
Azerbaijan’s Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) held 23 trainings, nine online trainings, seven seminars, two round tables and other educational events in 2019 to educate micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Baku and regions across the country, the agency reported while reporting the results of the last year.
The events were dedicated to business development, financial literacy, corporate governance, sales and marketing, public-private partnerships, etc. and involved over 8,000 entrepreneurs.
The agency has established partnerships with government agencies, international organizations, business associations and NGOs to conduct educational events involving local and international experts, and has used a business partnership platform in this area.
In addition to the theoretical information, entrepreneurs were presented with practical knowledge and skills in various enterprises and farms, and learned from experiences that were shared by successful business owners thanks to the activities of the agency.
In addition, some 38 entrepreneurs and managers went to Germany for the internships under the German-Azerbaijani joint program to improve skills of managers in Azerbaijan’s business community, which is coordinated by SMEs Development Agency and German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).
So far, 422 entrepreneurs and managers have benefited from the program. In 2020, about 40 entrepreneurs and managers will participate in a retraining course in Germany.
In 2020, KOBIA is planning to launch an online training platform, as well as open small and medium-sized business development centers to educate entrepreneurs and improve their knowledge and skills.
Small and medium-sized businesses play an important role in the development of Azerbaijan’s economy. Development of SMEs leads to the growth of entrepreneurship, which is one of the priority directions of Azerbaijan’s economic policy.
The Agency for the Development of SMEs aims to ensure the consistency of reforms, as well as the improvement of the business regulation system and the application of effective coordination, enhancement of the role and competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses in the country's economy, and the compliance of the management system of this sphere with modern requirements.
The SMEs held a share of 76 percent in employment in the country in 2018, and last year, the agency has carried out comprehensive work 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.
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