In order to expand access to financial resources of micro, small and medium enterprises in Azerbaijan, in addition to providing loans under concessional terms, the provision of grants by the Small and Medium Business Development Agency (KOBİA), is of substantial importance in expanding their access to financial resources and implementing their projects.
Allocation of grant funds is performed with the competitions organized by KOBİA. Grants for projects submitted by SMBs are provided in accordance with the "Regulation on the financing of education, science, research and support projects related to the development of micro, small and medium entrepreneurship" approved by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers dated September 30, 2020. Pursuant to the relevant rule approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, the competition is held no more than twice during the calendar year. Any legal entity of the SMB entities or natural persons engaged in business activities without establishing a legal entity are offered to take part in the grant competitions announced by KOBİA to this end.
Within the scope of the three competitions held so far, 282 projects in education, 256 in support, 68 in research, 56 in science, and 101 in other fields were submitted to the Agency to receive grants. As part of the competitions held so far, grants have been allocated to the projects of 39 SMBs. 5 of them are operating in education field, 1 in science, 4 in research, and 29 in the support field. These projects include fuel saving in a number of areas, development of various devices, online platforms and software, recycling, waste-free production, obtaining international certificates and patents, development of women's entrepreneurship, conducting research for the benefit of SMBs, etc.
Elmar Asgarzade, an individual entrepreneur conducting research with the grant received from KOBİA, who was awarded the Presidential Award for innovation and entrepreneurship in 2020, underlined the fact in a conversation with the reporter of "vergilar.az" that these grants are a tremendous support for an entrepreneur with an idea and experience. Our interviewee, who received a 20,000 manats grant for a project in science from KOBİA, highlighted that his research aimed to develop fuel-saving additives for internal combustion engines in a more innovative format without damaging the environment: "The purpose of preparing this additive is to reduce friction in the engine. “When friction is reduced, the engine uses less power and consumes less fuel and emits less carbon dioxide into the environment."
E. Asgarzade also noted that the chemical composition of the material synthesized within the scope of the project was investigated and the desired result was achieved after various tests. The material was tested in both Azerbaijan and Türkiye for performing basic tribological experiments. According to the findings, the resulting product does not have negative effects when added to engine oil. This additive reduces fuel consumption and prolongs engine life by weakening the friction force in the engine.
The entrepreneur emphasized that the project team also took part in the "Maritime Climaccelerator" program organized by "Climate-Kic" in October 2021. The yearlong program offers free tests on ships and allows for cooperation with European companies. Furthermore, program participants also have the opportunity to get 25,000 euros of investment.
E. Asgarzade noted that the results of the research are not applied for commercial purposes yet: "The results of the research can be used on the surfaces where friction occurs in the industry - compressors, pumps, wheels. We try to cooperate with shipping companies in order to use our product. Moreover, we would like to insure our product so that if it causes any damage to the ship, the damage will be automatically paid. In upcoming plans, we want to successfully complete the experiments and enter the market."
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