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.
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.
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.
At the end of 2018, the 5th Eastern Partnership Business Forum was held in Vienna. This annual event was a little different to the norm. In addition to the traditional panels discussing important areas of development, the annual meeting of the working group of an entirely new organisation was held at a European level.
With the support of the OECD within the EU4Business initiative, Azerbaijan has embarked on the implementation of a wide-ranging reform agenda aimed at diversifying the economy and enhancing the contribution of small and medium enterprises to employment, domestic production and exports.