On September 17, with the support of the Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMBDA) and the State Employment Agency, the organization of the Public Council under the SMBDA, and in partnership with the "Organization of Entrepreneurs with Disabilities" Public Association, a Forum was held on "Social entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan: current situation and prospects". The event was attended by representatives of relevant government agencies, business associations, and public unions, as well as Patriotic war participants and disabled citizens engaged or interested in entrepreneurial activity.
At the forum, the participants exchanged views on the social entrepreneurship importance, the work done to develop and promote this area in our country, their proposals were heard, and questions were answered.
The forum moderator, the chairman of the Public Council under the SMBDA Farhad Garashov noted that decent employment and income opportunities for socially vulnerable groups of the population, their comprehensive integration into society, and the promotion of social entrepreneurship are among the priority areas in our country, and that the forum was arranged to study the current situation in the field of social entrepreneurship and consider appropriate proposals.
Minister of labor and social protection of the population Sahil Babayev in his speech noted the work done to expand the access of vulnerable groups and disabled people to the labor market and employment, small business. It was noted that in January-August of this year, 900 disabled people were employed under both the quotas and social programs, and 1,045 were involved in self-employment training. As part of the "Support for self-employment" project implemented jointly with the Azerbaijan Banks Association, in 2020 and 2021, respectively, 1,015 and 251 people were provided with assets while 40 ones – under a joint project with the UN Development Program. Under the project “Supporting employment in Azerbaijan”, 2,500 citizens were involved in training performed jointly with the World Bank. As part of the “Social gardens” project of the “Regional Development” Public Union of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, gardening farms were created for 625 low-income families.
Sahil Babayev noted that 505 employers have already joined the "Employment marathon" arranged by the Ministry to employ the martyr family members and the Patriotic war participants, and provided 2,446 vacancies. 702 people were employed to these vacancies. The Minister noted the support of the private sector and social partners in improving the well-being of martyr families, war invalids, and other vulnerable groups, providing them with apartments, private houses, and cars within the framework of corporate social responsibility, as well as food support for low-income families and people from vulnerable groups.
The Chairman of the Board of ARMSB Orkhan Mammadov stressed that encouraging social entrepreneurship, supporting the development of entrepreneurship among citizens with disabilities and youth are among the Agency’s activities, and informed on the work done by SMBDA in this area. It was noted that SMBDA is supporting the implementation of the self-employment program and for the part period, more than 400 citizens have been supported to join this program. Citizens with disabilities are being trained to take part in the self-employment program with the Agency’s support. The Agency also supported the sale of handicrafts made by people with disabilities at various exhibitions. SMBDA effectively cooperates with the “Organization of Disabled Entrepreneurs” Public Association. Within the framework of the "Employment Marathon", which started to support the employment of the Patriotic war participants and martyr family members, 190 business entities, who joined the SMBDA’s call, created 345 vacancies. Thus, 73 people have already been employed in 38 economic entities. Orkhan Mammadov thanked all entrepreneurs who supported this charity event and put forward proposals for the development of social entrepreneurship and cooperation with various structures in this area.
Chairman of the "Organization of Entrepreneurs with Disabilities" Public Association Mirza Mammad Valiyev shared his ideas and suggestions on the current situation in social entrepreneurship, the state attention and care of vulnerable categories of citizens, measures taken to integrate disabled people into society and involve them in active employment, and the progress achieved by disabled persons.
As part of the forum, an exhibition of disabled people’s handicrafts was arranged.
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