“Start-up” in English means “to start”, “to launch”; earlier, this was a term for a beginner in any business. Nowadays, startup means implementing any innovative idea or presenting any existing business process in a completely different format, or innovative entrepreneurial activity.
According to “Report”, to support the development of innovative entrepreneurship and the implementation of startup ideas and ecosystem in our country, a number of benefits are applied, special zones and incubation and acceleration centers operate, and grant contests are held. These initiatives are expanding in line with international best practices and current global trends.
As a continuation of the measures taken to develop the startup ecosystem, “Startup” certificates were introduced in May this year. For this purpose, the “Startup Determination Criteria” were approved by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers dated January 29, 2021. Azerbaijan is among the world countries that have defined and approved the criteria for startups by an appropriate decision.
A “Startup” certificate is issued to taxpayers – micro or small businesses. If a medium and (or) large business is among the founders of an applicant – micro or small business, the share of this founder in the legal entity should not exceed 49 %. A “Startup” certificate is issued for a product manufactured or service provided to generate income or profit based on an innovative initiative, and this product or service should be competitive and not identical to another startup product or service, for which such a certificate has already been issued.
The “Startup” certificate benefits
The “Startup” certificate exempts an entrepreneur from income tax and tax on income from innovation activity for 3 years. In this regard, entrepreneurs are advised to obtain a “Startup” certificate for the implementation of already profitable projects and those at the stage of active growth.
The certificate allows startups to channel income for the development of their projects with the application of tax incentives. The “Startup” certificate also increases the interest of local and foreign investors in the startup and facilitates access to overseas markets.
The “Startup” certificate is issued by the Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMBDA) under the Ministry of Economy. To date, the Agency has issued certificates to 19 business entities. Projects implementing innovative solutions in the field of veterinary smart devices, financial technology, insurance, logistics, payment aggregator, e-commerce, and other new and traditional areas have been certified. 80 % of business projects, certified with “Startup” certificates, suppose the provision of products and services in the online format, and 20 % - based on electronic and mechanical devices.
What is the procedure for applying for a “Startup” certificate?
Micro and small entrepreneurs can apply for a “Startup” certificate to SMBDA directly (134, Ataturk Avenue, Baku, AZ1069) or electronically (email@example.com). The application received by the Agency is registered on the date of submission; the application and the documents attached are considered within 30 days and submitted to the Expert Council for consideration. Based on the Expert Council's conclusion, the Agency decides to issue or refuse to issue a “Startup” certificate.
The Expert Council is composed of representatives of the Ministries of Economy, Digital Development, and Transport, the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President, the Intellectual Property Agency, and the National Academy of Sciences, and as independent experts, the Public Association “Forum for the Internet Development in Azerbaijan”, Public Association “Azerbaijan Innovation Export Consortium”, and the commission for “Innovations and Digital Technologies” under the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs (Employers) are represented.
The application form and detailed information on the appropriate criteria and documents required to obtain a “Startup” certificate are posted on the official SMBDA website: https://smb.gov.az/en/nav/startap-sehadetnamesi
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