From 15th to 20 October, the first business visit to Azerbaijan was held together with educational and green technology companies and organizations from Latvia, Estonia and Finland. Latvia was repesented by the University of Latvia, Business School "Turība", "Magnetic Professional" Ltd., "Baltic Bright" Ltd. and "Around Architects" Ltd.
The business trip was organized in cooperation with the Embassy of Latvia in Azerbaijan, the Embassy of Estonia in Azerbaijan and the Ambassador of Finland in the Caucasus region, and during it the companies met with the Ministry of Education and Science of Azerbaijan, the Agency for Quality of Education and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.
On the other hand, in cooperation with "AHK Azerbaijan", a networking event was organized, where entrepreneurs were introduced to a presentation about the business environment in Azerbaijan and negotiations were held with companies in the education and green technology sectors of Azerbaijan.
Līga Sičeva, head of the European Union project department of LCCI:
"Azerbaijan is a rather distant country, about which there are often various stereotypes that prevent business development there. The business environment in Azerbaijan is dynamic, and without initial support for businesses, the first steps could be challenging, if only to reduce the impact of stereotypes. The main goal of the "LEF network Azerbaijan" project is to provide practical support to Latvian, Estonian, and Finnish companies for the development of exports to Azerbaijan by organizing trade missions, providing consultations and training. The project team believes that the project is at the right moment, when Azerbaijan's common cooperation policy is aimed at strengthening relations and cooperation with the countries of the European Union."
During the visit, an education sector business forum was organized in cooperation with "Caspian Energy Club", where the opening speeches were given by the rectors of Azerbaijani universities, Latvian ambassador to Azerbaijan Edgars Skuja, Finnish ambassador to the Caucasus region Kirsti Narinen, as well as the head of the Estonian embassy in Azerbaijan Jaak Lensment. Ilze Buligina, senior expert of the Department of Professional and Adult Education of the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science, gave a presentation on Latvian-Azerbaijani cooperation in the education sector, Kadri Haljas, head of the Estonian company "Triumph Research OU", shared her experience with Estonian educational technology success stories. But the representative of the Finnish company "Finest Future", Henri Hirvikoski, presented the Finnish education system. The panel discussion on the topic "Innovations: The path of cooperation for shaping the future of education and technology in Azerbaijan, Latvia, Estonia and Finland" was led by LCCI board member Katrīna Zariņa, which was followed by a B2B meeting of companies.
The companies visited several universities such as Azerbaijan State University of Oil and Industry, Academy of Azerbaijan State Customs Committee, Azerbaijan-France High School and ADA University, which is the largest university in Azerbaijan.
"Evaluating the results of the trip with companies from Latvia, Estonia, Finland, the opinion is expressed that the trip has exceeded expectations both on the content and technical level, and the business environment of Azerbaijan itself has positively surprised me. Companies are ready to continue working on export development in the near future," says L. Sičeva.
Next year, three business visits to Azerbaijan are planned with the support of the project, as well as two incoming business visits from Azerbaijan to the Central Baltic region.
"LEF network Azerbaijan" project is financed by the Interreg Central Baltic program.
The vision of the "LEF Network Azerbaijan" project is to increase innovation and the bioeconomy of the region by exporting services, goods and practical knowledge to Azerbaijan, thus increasing the sustainability and competitiveness of the Central Baltic region. Azerbaijan has specific market needs, language and business culture, which is a challenge for entrepreneurs. It is more difficult for companies to enter the market individually than by cooperating with other companies and business support organizations. As a result of the project, exports to third countries will be implemented faster and more efficiently.
The aim of the "LEF network Azerbaijan" project is to conclude ten sales contracts between experienced SMEs of Finland, Estonia and Latvia and Azerbaijan within 36 months.
LCCI is the leading partner in the project.