On November 28, BP and its co-venturers announced the extension of the Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) – a multi-million dollar initiative they launched in June 2007 in support of local business development. The programme is part of the companies’ efforts to increase the local content of their contracts in Azerbaijan and contribute to the healthy and transparent development of the local economy and assist Azerbaijan-based companies in developing their businesses. Extension of EDP will continue an opportunity for local businesses and companies from all sectors of the economy to learn, develop their capacity and focus on improvement. Since the programme was launched in 2007 around 2,000 local small- and medium-size enterprises have participated in it and around 200 of them have completed the full course. Addressing the launch event, Bakhtiyar Aslanbayli, BP’s vice president for communication, external affairs, strategy and region said: “Some of the participant companies have really made impressive development efforts and the outcome of these efforts has been hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth contract awards from a wide range of clients including the projects operated by BP.” Participation in this programme since 2007 has enabled the companies to secure around $633 million worth contracts with local and international clients. Of this some $383 million has been with BP in Azerbaijan. To date the participating local companies have themselves spent around $22 million in capital investments and have hired approximately 4,000 employees. The 2-year extension of the programme will be implemented by the local company Ekvita LLC that has been newly selected as a result of a competitive tender process.