Second Annual Best of Business Awards Announced

22 June 2007

BP on behalf of its co-venturers today announced in Baku the winners of the second Best of Business Awards. This is an annual initiative, which recognises supplier and service companies’ outstanding contribution to enterprise development in Azerbaijan.

The 2007 awards attracted twice as many nominations as last year. For the first time, an award was also made to the Community Entrepreneur of the Year. This new category recognises the best sustainable business starting or benefiting from one of the projects initiated by BP’s Community Investment Programme. 

In a ceremony attended by representatives of the business community, the government and the media BP today presented on behalf of its co-venturers the 2007 awards to the following enterprises and individuals nominated in five categories:

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Eyvaz Mirzayev. This award is presented to a businessman or woman under 35 years old, who has successfully implemented fresh, and innovative approaches to their business. Eyvaz owns and manages Munasib Senaye Techizat Ltd. - an industrial, electrical supply and service company. Only 28, he has built up his business working with suppliers in UK, Norway and USA. Eyvaz has now expanded his business into Georgia and Kazakhstan. 

Community Entrepreneur of the Year:The Community Business Organisation, the Human Development and Sustainable Income Generation Public Union. This award is presented to an enterprise which makes a tangible impact on the economic development at a local level. The Union has brought together 34 people from the Umid refugee settlement near Sangachal who have created a stable and sustainable income-generating business. They produce protective gloves and other products for the terminal. 
Health, Safety and Environment Performance Award: Caspian Drilling Company (CDC). This award is presented to a company which achieves outstanding safety and environmental performance. The judges recognised that CDC has established a culture where everyone is looking out for each other and genuinely interested in health and safety of all. 

Best Employer of the Year: ITS Testing Services. This is the only category which is open to international companies working in Azerbaijan, as well as local companies. This award is presented to a company, which genuinely focuses on the development of the skills and experience of its staff. 

Company of the Year: Encotec. This prestigious award is presented to a company which delivers outstanding results during the year. 

In addition, special recognition was given to SIAR Research and Consulting for demonstrating outstanding flexibility and an ability to learn and introduce new concepts and techniques during its work for BP. 

Addressing the awards presentation ceremony, Bill Schrader, BP’s President in Azerbaijan, said: “Each of the winning companies truly demonstrates the best of business: a strong focus on delivery and discipline; a commitment to staff development; excellent performance in safety; and the ability to innovate and think progressively. These are values we share and we look forward to working with an increasing number of local and international companies who are similarly committed to playing a role in the creation of a healthy and vibrant enterprise culture in Azerbaijan.” 
Notes to Editors:
BP is the operator of Azerbaijan’s major oil and gas development and transportation projects and set in 2005 an ambitious target to double the value of contracts placed with Azerbaijan-owned companies by 2010. To reach this target, BP re-launched the Enterprise Centre in Baku last year to enhance its support of local small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development. During the first quarter of 2007 we spent 34% of our total third party expenditure inside Azerbaijan, a significant increase on the previous year. The number of local SMEs we are working with has also continued to grow - in 2006 we worked with 444 local SMEs in comparison to 334 in 2005 and this number is much higher if state-owned and joint venture suppliers with Azerbaijan capital are added to it. 

The Best of Business Awards were established by BP in 2006 on behalf of its co-venturers as part of our encouragement of local business development. The awards recognise outstanding local and international companies and business personalities whose entrepreneurial skills contribute to the success of BP-operated oil and gas projects and make a lasting impact on the local business environment. 

The driving force behind these initiatives is BP’s commitment to the sustainable economic development of Azerbaijan. BP is also working to develop a number of other initiatives to encourage the non-oil sector and support enterprise development throughout Azerbaijan to assist the country in diversifying its economy through our Regional Development Initiative, our Community Investment Programmes and educational sponsorships. 
To this end, BP and its co-venturers also recently launched the Supplier Finance Facility, a ground-breaking initiative aimed at supporting local business development through the provision of transparent sources of funding for small and medium-sized enterprises. This finance facility will provide access to a further $15 million of financing to BP’s local contractors. 


For further information please contact:
Tamam Bayatly, BP Baku Press office, telephone:      994 (0) 12 599 4557