Enhancing the role of small and medium businesses in the Azerbaijani economy is one of the priorities.
On April 25, Azerbaijan marks the Entrepreneur's Day established by the Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated April 21, 2016.
Currently, about 99 % of business entities in Azerbaijan are micro, small, and medium businesses (SMBs). As of January 1, 2021, 92.1, 5.3, and 2.1 % of registered businesses are micro, small, and medium businesses, respectively. As of January 1, 2021, the number of individual entrepreneurs registered to engage in entrepreneurial activity without creating a legal entity exceeded 1 million people. SMBs mainly operate in the field of trade, agriculture, services, construction, processing industry, transport, etc.
It should be noted that according to the new criteria in the field of small and medium businesses, approved by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers dated December 21, 2018, entrepreneurs with up to 10 employees and an annual income of up to AZN 200,000 are considered microentrepreneurs; those with the number of employees within 11 to 50 and an annual income of AZN 200,000 to three million – small businesses; those with the number of employees within 51 to 250 and an annual income from AZN three to 30 million – medium businesses.
Today, in the country, several organizations including the Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMBDA), provide various support to entrepreneurs, in particular, SMBs, benefits are granted, and state support is provided, and a number of institutional mechanisms operate. Thus, 75 % of the income of individual and legal microentrepreneurs are exempt from tax. Herewith, microentrepreneurs (except for those whose fixed assets have a residual value exceeding AZN 1,000,000 as of the beginning of the year) are exempt from property tax.
According to the Tax Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, entrepreneurs engaged in micro and small businesses are exempt from income tax and tax on income from innovation activity for 3 years from the date of receiving the Startup Certificate. The Startup Certificate is issued by the SMBDA.
According to the law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On Public Procurement", public procurement of goods (work, services) with an approximate value of $ 3 million or less is only performed through e-procurement with the participation of the SMBs in an open tender procedure.
The SMBDA also provides financial support to micro, small and medium businesses in performing the domestic market research, implementing educational, scientific, research, and support projects, free participation in specialized exhibitions to expand sales opportunities, free training, and consulting to expand knowledge and skills, the development of social entrepreneurship, etc. The ‘SMB Friend’ network operating in 24 cities and regions of the country provides protection of the SMBs’ interests, support in implementing business initiatives, and training. Small and Medium Business Development Centers (SMBDCs) operating in Baku, Sumgait, Khachmaz, Shaki, and Yevlakh, provide the SMBs with information about entrepreneurship, expand their knowledge and skills in this area. In the SMB Houses located in the cities of Khachmaz and Yevlakh, various state and private agencies provide services to entrepreneurs in a single space.
The fact that the vast majority of enterprises in the country are small and medium businesses shows that they have great potential to increase their share in the economy. One of the sub-goals of the priority of Sustainably Growing Competitive Economy, included in the ‘Azerbaijan 2030: National Priorities for Socio-Economic Development’ program approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated February 2, 2021, is to stimulate the SMBs and make them a driving force for sustainable development. To this end, within the framework of the relevant working group, intensive work is underway to determine goals and priorities for 2021–2025.
SMBDA congratulates those employed in this field on the occasion of Entrepreneur Day – April 25 and wishes them success in their activity.
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