Outside the oil sector, doing business in Azerbaijan often remains a challenge – particularly for SMEs. Although they account for over 80% of all registered companies SMEs only contribute around 3% to the country’s economy. International trade is dominated by large companies. EU4business works with the government, associations and SMEs to develop Azerbaijan’s SME sector by improving access to finance and markets, encouraging women entrepreneurs and building business skills. The EU also supports the government in the development of a more coherent policy towards SMEs allowing the country unleash the potential of SMEs for long term socio-economic development.



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Armenia Armenia gets one-year customs tax break within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. Lower rates than the single EEU customs tariffs shall be applied in Armenia for more than 600 items of goods imported.

Success stories

Building a prosperous business from scratch is not an easy task. It requires diligence, patience and hard work—lots of hard work. "You just need to follow your dream,” says Afet Akhmadova , founder of Zira Natural & Gourmet . Set up originally in 2013 as a marketing company, Zira is now a successful maker of premium segment food. Getting the company to this new level, adds Afet, was possible...
The Agalarov family fled to the Shaki-Zaqatala region after the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh flared up. Their financial situation back then was fairly poor and the only skill they possessed was carpet weaving. “ When we first arrived here, we had nothing except our carpets and our books,’ says Zamina Agalarova . “We struggled to make a living. Even when you have proper skills, it’s difficult to...
Supporting small businesses in north-west Azerbaijan
The majority of households in north-west Azerbaijan live in rural and often remote mountainous areas with limited employment opportunities. The diverse population of the six north-western regions that comprise the Shaki-Zaqatala Economic Zone also includes many vulnerable families displaced by conflict. The Agalarov family, for example, fled to Shaki-Zaqatala from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict...