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 Press release - Eurasia Foundation Approves Over $164,287 in Grants for Azerbaijan (EF)

 Press release date: 18.08.2003

Eurasia Foundation Approves Over $164,287 in Grants for Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan - The Eurasia Foundation's Baku Advisory Board has recommended $164,278 for six new grants to organizations in Azerbaijan to promote development of private enterprise and civil society.

PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT

"SADA" Ltd. $34, 950.
To support investment in small and medium enterprises by developing improved country-specific mechanisms to evaluate companies' financial conditions and investment potential. The project will help SMEs develop realistic business plans and help banks and investors to evaluate their competitiveness. The project includes creation of an Azeri-language computer program for business plans; development and public discussion of recommendations to help investors analyze local SMEs in accordance with international standards; training for 300 SMEs and potential investors, and a website "Investment Possibilities in Azerbaijan".

Enterprise "Center of Decorative-Applied Art" $13,760.
To support development and rebirth of traditional Azerbaijani porcelain manufacture to meet demand conditions of a market economy. This project will draw on the expertise of master artists of the former Ganja Porcelain Factory, which closed after the Soviet Union, to train new artists in the skills of ceramic making and also in principles of modern business practices. The project will prepare workspaces and provide teaching materials and technology to support modern porcelain production, as well as expositions by the graduates. Local funds will help renovate equipment to restart a small studio to carry on the tradition.

"Igbal" Foundation $21,288.
To support the rebirth and development of arts and crafts businesses in Baku and Absheron. The artisans will be provided with important methodological and legal aid materials for the creation of small enterprises, as well as educational trainings in business management. On completion of the educational trainings, an exhibition of artisan's work will be held and a catalogue published of the best works. The aim of this project is to educate and train artisans on how to create successful outlets to sell their wares, as well as increase the demand for handicrafts in order to help pave the way for increased employment of artisans.

Kron Co LTD. $35,731.
In support of small and medium-sized enterprises' understanding and compliance with tax legislation, which became effective January 2001, but was significantly revised this year. This project builds on an earlier one that successfully helped businesses understand their tax obligations and also defend their rights before tax authorities in four regions of Azerbaijan (Ganja, Sheki, Shamkir, and Tovuz). The activities involve cooperation between a legal firm and a publishing house, and include preparing and distributing commentaries to tax legislation, developing an electronic database, interactive training, and consultations for 200 SMEs from four new regions of Jalilabad, Masalli, Lenkoran and Astara, and it will include broader public education.

CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT

"Leader Women" Social Union $36, 109.
To support rehabilitation of women being released from prison to help their return to society by resolving key problems that they face, including work and housing. The project will establish a center to teach job skills and provide legal advice for those soon to be released and those already released, and will help with their housing, medical, and other administrative needs so that they may be reintegrated into the community.

NGO "International Press Club" $22, 440.
To support journalists' access to information by building new relationships between government and mass media and developing more effective ways of exchanging information between them. The project involves joint seminars and training for journalists and officials from government offices responsible for press and public affairs. It also involves a seminar with international organizations and follow-up monitoring of press access to government information.

About the Eurasia Foundation
Privately managed with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development and other sponsors, we have made more than 6,500 grants totaling approximately $130 million to support democratic and economic reform in 12 countries of the former Soviet Union since 1993. In Azerbaijan, we have awarded more than $4 million in grants to advance local initiatives in civil society, private enterprise, and public administration and policy. Please visit www.eurasia.org and www.efazerbaijan.org



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