Economic Development, Governance & Enterprise Growth Project (EDGE) in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia & Ukraine
Joining forces to make SMEs Stronger: Diversification and Innovation through Partnership
Issues associated with SME development remain policy priorities in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine. New challenges are constantly emerging that require analysis. Currently, SMEs’ potential remains largely untapped in all the above-mentioned countries.
To foster the competitiveness of the SME sector and promote new business linkages of domestic suppliers with the international investors, it is decisive to establish cross-regional cooperation, information gathering and reporting capabilities. This is a unique, transnational project with a regional scope strengthening awareness and knowledge of SMEs, providing the stakeholders with comparative data and supporting the creation of a structured and digital exchange and information platform for the partner countries.
In particular, in the area of diversification of the economy, the creation of innovative power and the encouragement of female founders and entrepreneurs are among the key challenges that have to be mastered. In this view, the AHK Azerbaijan and its project partners intend to unite their forces and make SMEs stronger by facilitating diversification and innovation through Partnership. This requires the implementation of multi-dimensional measures, which in addition to an analysis of the current situation, above all gives strategic answers on how to use opportunities, solve problems and master challenges of SMEs. In the form of creating digital solutions, providing direct linkages to the EU market and conducting customized training and development programs, the project fully matches with EDGE overall goal to ensure inclusive, sustainable economic growth supporting intra-regional and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Project Phases at a glance
Phase 1 - SME Report
In view of the preliminary analysis, the project partners conducted the digital market analysis about “The Opportunities and Challenges of the SME Development in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine”, published in January 2021.
This market study is based on an online survey (150 companies) and selected face-to-face interviews with relevant stakeholders from the respective countries. The study is focusing on areas with relatively greater potential in all partner countries: Agriculture & ag processing, Tourism and Female Entrepreneurship.
Phase 2 - SME Delegation
In preparation for the digital delegation trip, the AHKs offer an exclusive workshop about “How to do Business with Germany and the EU”. Participants will receive detailed market information and practical training on German and European business culture.
Afterwards, selected companies will take part in a virtual delegation trip to Germany. The delegation aims to give the participating SMEs direct linkages to the German and European markets through customized trade fair participations and B2B meetings with German companies.
Phase 3 - SME Forum
The SME Development Forum “Diversification and Innovation in Eastern Partnership Countries“ will create a unique platform uniting different stakeholders from Germany and the partner countries and offers exceptional public-private dialogue.
The SME Development Forum aims at connecting SMEs and high-ranking representatives of economic and political institutions. In sector-specific panel discussions, participants will discuss the latest economic developments and reforms in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.