Outside the oil sector, doing business in Azerbaijan often remains a challenge – particularly for SMEs. Although they account for over 80% of all registered companies SMEs only contribute around 3% to the country’s economy. International trade is dominated by large companies. EU4business works with the government, associations and SMEs to develop Azerbaijan’s SME sector by improving access to finance and markets, encouraging women entrepreneurs and building business skills. The EU also supports the government in the development of a more coherent policy towards SMEs allowing the country unleash the potential of SMEs for long term socio-economic development.


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Success stories

Supporting small businesses in north-west Azerbaijan
The majority of households in north-west Azerbaijan live in rural and often remote mountainous areas with limited employment opportunities. The diverse population of the six north-western regions that comprise the Shaki-Zaqatala Economic Zone also includes many vulnerable families displaced by conflict. The Agalarov family, for example, fled to Shaki-Zaqatala from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict...
Baku skyline
With the support of the OECD within the EU4Business initiative, Azerbaijan has embarked on the implementation of a wide-ranging reform agenda aimed at diversifying the economy and enhancing the contribution of small and medium enterprises to employment, domestic production and exports. The fall in oil prices in 2015, combined with an economic slowdown in key regional trade partners, led to a...
Aydin Aliyev, co-owner of Sermar
Sermar LLC is a ceramic tiles and accessories store selling leading European products in Baku, a long journey from its beginnings in the early 2000s, when it was established as a small shop selling construction materials. “At that time it was just a small store covering a 15-50 square metre area,” recalls the co-owner of the company, Aydin Aliyev .“For 12-13 years, the store operated in that way...