Photo: European Union / Ahmed Mukhtar

Dear partners, colleagues, and friends,

Thank you all for being here today to mark the official end of our ‘Support to Small Family Businesses’ project.

As we look back and take stock of the key achievements, however, we should remember this is just the beginning for all the families who have started out on new ventures.

Since the project was launched end of 2017, we have provided support for 44 rural families to start up or expand their own local businesses.

Thanks to EU funding and our partnership with ABAD, the project was able to provide these families not only with essential training but also with the resources they needed to get their companies off the ground. 

The trainings covered business development and planning, branding, financial accounting and legal services. On successful completion of these courses, the beneficiaries were eligible to apply for vital equipment and supplies.

The success of the project exceeded our expectations and the amount of people it has positively affected will only continue to grow over the coming years.

Here I would just like to highlight some of the amazing entrepreneurs who have taken up the opportunities of the project and achieved success for themselves and others.

Mirvari Azizova from Balakan started off her entrepreneurial career with a small tailoring shop. As a result of her many talents and with help from the project in developing her skills, Mirvari now employs 20 women who work from their homes as part of an informal women’s co-operative.

Zohrab Ismayilov and Harun Nurayev are another project success story. Both in their sixties, these two old friends launched an eco-products business selling packed roasted hazelnuts through ABAD’s ethno-boutiques. In addition to employing members of their families, they are already looking to hire more people from their communities. 

Nizami Musayev is an entrepreneur who decided to make the most of the opportunities offered by the project and whose success has benefited others. Together with three other families who grow and sell persimmon in Balakan, Nizami initiated the formation of a small co-operative.

With support from ABAD, the four families in the co-operative have already managed to get their persimmon products displayed and sold in some of the major supermarket chains, including in Baku itself.

All these businesses have great growth potential.

They have all successfully navigated the challenges and hardships of the pandemic, and I believe that in the months to come they will grow and continue to create new employment opportunities in their communities and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Some 300 people have benefited directly from this project and as many as 600 have benefited indirectly. I am pleased to add that 22 of the 44 new businesses are led by women.

 I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate all the families on their success and wish them an even brighter future.

I would also like to thank the EU for their generous funding and ABAD for their continuous partnership and commitment to this project. Together we have shown how important it is to invest in family businesses as a way of supporting local communities.

Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone in our project team for seeing through every task with care and commitment to ensure the great success of this initiative.

Thank you.

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