Azerbaijan SME roadmap: improving SME access to alternative finance and increasing participation in global value chains

3rd Working Group meeting on the project “Supporting the Implementation and Monitoring of Azerbaijan’s SME Roadmap”

The OECD held the third Public-Private Working Group meeting of the project on ‘Supporting the implementation and monitoring of Azerbaijan's SME roadmap’ in Baku on 26 September. The project is part of the broader ‘EU4Business: From Policies to Action’ programme implemented by the OECD across the Eastern Partnership and funded by the EU in the framework of its EU4Business initiative. 

The Working Group meeting allowed participants to discuss implementation of the Strategic Roadmap for the production of consumer goods at the level of small and medium entrepreneurship, particularlyin areas related to SME access to alternative finance and the participation of local SMEs in global value chains. 

The meeting was opened by Deputy Minister of Economy Niyazi Safarov, the Head of the EU Delegation, Kestutis Jankauskas, and William Tompson, head of the OECD Eurasia Division.

During the morning session, OECD experts presented preliminary findings and recommendationsof the project, allowing participantsto provide comments and suggestions on how to better reflect the progressin the implementation of the SME roadmap.

The afternoon session focused more specifically on the reforms targeting SME access to alternative finance and creation of supplier linkages to stimulate internationalisation of SMEs.

An Italian expert presented the role of alternative finance in SME development, and, based on international good practices, he outlined which alternative finance instruments could serve SME development in Azerbaijan, and how the government could stimulate their uptake.

A representative of CzechInvest (Investment and Business Development Agency) shared the agency’s experience in promoting linkages between Czech SMEs and foreign investors. As an example, he presented the programme that aimed to create supplier linkages in the Czech automotive industry.

The Working Group brought together some 40 participants from the Ministry of Economy, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Azerbaijan, SME Development Agency, Baku Business Training Centre, Ministry of Taxes, State Customs Committee, FIMSA, State Statistical Committee and other representatives from private and public sector.

EU4Business: From Policies to Action is a regional project implemented by the OECD, which supports competitiveness and business environment reforms in the Eastern Partnership countries, working both at country and regional level.