Azerbaijan has huge potential for development of social enterprises in the country, Lana Lovasic, international expert on social enterprises and social economy, told Trend.
“UNDP has mobilized international experience and also used a kind of international network to provide examples of successful development of social enterprises, and then has helped facilitate this process of engagement and consultation in Azerbaijan to help find out, what the recommendations for policy should be. The UNDP has played the facilitation process here, making sure that the recommendations forwarded to the government are locally contextualized based on the real situation in Azerbaijan,” she said.
According to the expert, In Azerbaijan, the key recommendations for social entrepreneurs vary by context, because the system here is at an early stage.
“So, what needs to be done is education and awareness raising, helping people to understand the potential of this system, and then, the capacity building - trainings and programs, as well as funding,” she explained.
As Lovasic noted, after having the preliminary recommendations ready, it is up to the government and the local ecosystems to take these recommendations and apply.
“There is so much to be done, but even now, at an early stage, we found enterprises that are already doing well. The timing is about finding more people. There are enterprises operating that probably even do not know that they are in fact social enterprises. This is about pulling them into space. If the government really puts a lot of effort, and moves the policy forward rapidly, the ecosystem will come together and move quicker. Internal policy development needs to be conducted in the government and local ecosystems as well. There is a huge potential for this in Azerbaijan, and I really hope that this will develop quickly here,” she added.
Meanwhile, the presentation of policy recommendation for social enterprises in Azerbaijan was organized recently within the ‘Developing innovation-driven and sustainable civil society in Azerbaijan’ project, funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP. Since April 2022, regular workshops have been organized together with local entrepreneurs for recommendations development as well.
The project aims to help increase CSOs capacities to engage in policy-making processes, foster local development, and promote social entrepreneurship and social innovation.