Economic and Enterprise Development Program: Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijan Economic and Enterprise Development (EED) Program is a technical assistance project administered by CDC and funded by USAID.  EED is a multi-faceted economic development program that includes supplier training, firm level technical and managerial assistance, training and local capacity building and linkages in trade, finance and technology.

Azerbaijan has made progress in recent years in developing more democratic institutions and processes and undertaking economic reform. In order to help insure that these gains are sustained and the remaining steps are taken speedily, USAID is supporting the growth of Azerbaijani SMEs and the expansion of the private market. A healthy economy, strong business class and integration into the global economy are key buttresses for democracy and economic and political stability. And with recent oil investment in the country, Azerbaijan has a real opportunity to grow its SME sector and generate increased revenue.

CDC’s program of volunteer technical assistance is built on the understanding that neither CDC nor USAID can provide technical and monetary assistance indefinitely. Our approach for Azerbaijan includes:

  • Creating the demand for technical assistance by focusing on opportunities for local suppliers to contract with foreign companies;
  • Referring clients to, and assisting them in developing, new sources of financing;
  • Increasing the ability of Azerbaijani companies to find trade partners and attract investment;
  • Establishing a field presence to select clients, diagnose clients, and provide in-country support for VAs; and
  • Delivering technical assistance through VAs, at the same time building the capacity of local staff, in order to provide more and more of this technical assistance on their own and eventually provide it on a fee-for-service basis.

CDC has tailored its EED Program to Azerbaijani conditions to target SMEs and Business Services Providers (BSPs) as direct recipients of technical assistance to spur economic growth in the private sector. The EED Program includes a supplier training program, firm level technical and managerial assistance, training and local capacity building and linkages in finance, trade, and technology.

In order to accelerate local community and business development, CDC’s train the suppliers program activities focus on increasing the competitiveness of local companies by improving their operations and the quality of their products and services. CDC provides training and education to local companies on how to successfully participate in the bidding and contracting processes. In addition, the program helps create more reliable suppliers that clearly understand their responsibilities once a contract is signed, and prepares companies for financing by building lender confidence and creating more “bankable” businesses.

Firm-level technical and managerial assistance includes improving management skills in immediate and long-term operations and finances, increasing efficiency and improvements in operating systems and procedures and uniting client companies in national and regional networks and associations that offer communication links, continuing education and business relationships.

Training and local capacity building activities serve to strengthen BSPs and build local capacity for long-term, stable and domestically supported enterprise and economic development. Specifically, CDC support helps BSPs achieve sustainability through assistance, training, self-assessment and networking.
To be successful, CDC VAs provide linkages in finance, trade and technology that increase access to capital and facilitate production and enterprise growth. Trade links for buyers, suppliers and partners within the country and across borders, regionally and globally are forged using CDC’s Trade Links program. Technology transfer is facilitated by introducing clients to new methods and processes, and introducing appropriate technology upgrades.

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