Photo: European Union / Ahmed Mukhtar

2 July 2021 – An official ceremony was held today in Sheki, to mark the successful completion of the ‘Support to Small Family Businesses in Sheki-Zaqatala’ project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with ABAD.

The ceremony was attended by Elkhan Usubov, the Head of the Sheki Executive Power; Ambassador Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the EU Delegation; UNDP Resident Representative Alessandro Fracassetti; Abdul Aliyev, Head of International Relations Department of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan; and Rufat Elchiyev, ABAD Director – all of whom emphasized the importance of investing in family businesses as a way to support local communities.

Since the project was launched in 2017, support was provided for 44 rural families to start up or expand their own local businesses. These families were provided with essential training and the resources they needed to get their companies off the ground. 

The trainings covered business development and planning, branding and sales, financial accounting and legal services, also packaging, food safety, logistics, communication and international trading. On successful completion of these courses, the beneficiaries were eligible to apply for vital equipment and supplies.

Some 200 people have benefited directly from this project and as many as 350 have benefited indirectly. 22 of the 44 new businesses are led by women and 12 by internally displaced persons and the new businesses vary from food production to decorative arts and crafts. All products will be available for purchase in the ABAD ethno-boutiques and in some of the larger supermarket chains in the country.

As part of the event, the participants visited the Sheki “ABAD” Ceramics and Applied Art Center and got to know the products of the families, and some families from Balakan, Zaqatala and Gakh and received detailed information about their small businesses. 


The “Support to the Development of Small Family Businesses in the Sheki-Zaqatala Economic Zone through the ABAD Regional Centre in Balakan” project is funded by the EU and co-funded and implemented by UNDP and ABAD under the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations. 


Media contact:

For media inquiries, please contact Leyla Gurbanova, UNDP in Azerbaijan at

Gulnara Bayramova, Press and Information Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan at

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