21.11.2013.Baku - Today, a conference entitled "The Development of Small Businesses in Azerbaijan" was held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in the Baku Business Center.
Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job
creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. The GEW aims to expose people to the benefits of entrepreneurship through different activities and to motivate them to explore their own entrepreneurial ideas. Over a span of five years, GEW has expanded to 131 countries and has involved roughly 25 million participants through myriad activities.
The event, organized by the initiative of the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan and with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), gathered representatives from government agencies, public unions, international organizations, embassies, think tanks and universities. The speakers at the opening of the conference emphasized the importance of small businesses for Azerbaijan's non-oil sector development, job creation, and further development of the economy.
U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Dereck Hogan welcomed the participants and noted that, "When countries offer individuals the chance to succeed or fail based on their own efforts and to reap the rewards of their own success, they find thousands willing to take that chance. And those thousands can transform a country in ways that create greater stability for individuals and for society. That’s what entrepreneurship is about.”
Representatives from the government agencies, business associations, public unions and think tanks shared their views on the development of small businesses in Azerbaijan. Moreover, the participants discussed a number of issues, such as creating a State Agency for Small Businesses, founding a special institution of ombudsmen defending the rights of small businesses, clarifying the notions of micro, small and medium enterprises, simplifying farm land registration procedures, raising competitiveness, joining the World Trade Organization, and improving legislation.
A consortium of public unions (Entrepreneurship Development Foundation, Economic Research Center, Center for Economic Initiatives Support, Center for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises, Carpet World Association, «Bridge to the Future» Youth Organization), which carry out the USAID-supported Micro-Enterprise Support Project, prepared a package of specific proposals and recommendations on all of these issues. The views expressed at the conference will be incorporated into these recommendations, after which the proposals will be submitted to relevant government agencies.