BP on behalf of the co-venturers in the joint ventures that it operates – the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Shah Deniz and the South Caucasus Pipeline projects – today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Azerbaijan’s Small- and Medium-sized Business Development Agency (SMBDA) to jointly explore opportunities for cooperation to support the development of local businesses
Under this MoU the two parties will work together to evaluate potential directions and areas of joint work in support of local business development.
Bakhtiyar Aslanbayli, BP’s Vice President, Communications, External Affairs, Strategy and Region, said: “We are pleased to sign this MoU today, which will allow us to work closely with SMBDA to further help thegrowth of the local business market. BP, as operator of Azerbaijan’s largest oil and gas development projects, together with its co-venturershas been supporting local business development initiatives for more than a decade. This has been and remains a priority area in our social investment strategy in Azerbaijan. In the early years of our operations here, we saw a need to help local businesses enhance their capabilities to be able to compete with experienced international companies and increase their participation in BP-operated projects in this region. We have been very successful in driving this initiative and are proud to see hundreds of local companies providing quality services to our business. We remain committed to helping the development and growth of local businesses as part of the rapid growth of Azerbaijan’s economy.”
Orkhan Mammadov, Chairman of the SMBDA Board, said: “Cooperation with the private local and foreign companies is one of the priorities for SMBDA to promote and support SME sector development. The SMBDA is committed to the improvement of the business environment for the entities which belong to that sector. We truly believe that Azerbaijan’s economy will benefit from the sector’s development. BP is a company with a high sense of social responsibility and as such is committed to the development of the local business infrastructure. We are pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding on small- and medium-sized business development support. We are confident that it will reinforce the platform for the development of the SME sector in Azerbaijan.”
Notes to editors
BP and its co-venturers have been implementing a major social investment programme since 2007 to support development of local enterprises. The initiative called “Enterprise Development Programme (EDP)” is a multi-million-dollar project and is part of the efforts to increase local content of BP’s contracts in Azerbaijan and contribute to the healthy and transparent development of the local economy.
To date BP and its co-venturers have invested about $6.5 million supporting the development of some 2000 small- and medium-sized businesses through EDP. Of these, 218 local companies completed the full program between 2007 and 2017.
By the end of 2017, BP had awarded $538 million contract awards in total to EDP participant companies. This has enabled them to grow their businesses, create numerous new jobs and investment opportunities locally. This year 24 local companies will complete the BP and co-venturers’ funded EDP trainings.
SMBDA has already activated a number of SME support mechanisms, of which SME Friends regional network which started in the Masally region and the Shabran-Siyazan administrative-territorial units; the Public Council (established to strengthen public participation and public oversight of the Agency's Activities), consisting of 15 non-governmental organizations and associations that combine hundreds of entrepreneurs; the Young Internship Programmes in order to involve young specialists and students in entrepreneurship and other relevant programmes.
SMBDA’s strategic initiatives also include establishment of the SME House (more than 100 G2B services by more than 30 governmental entities, and more than 1.000 B2B services on a one-stop shop principle), the e-SME House, PPP Development Centre, SME Development Centres and SME Development funds. SME clusters development will provide incentives for the clusters, governmental support policy toolkit for the SME cluster, based on the best international practice.
Tamam Bayatly at BP’s Press Office in Baku.
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