Starting date for start-up project financing set in Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 13
By Huseyn Valiyev - Trend:

A decision on the allocation of grants to support the start-up projects through the State Fund for Development of Information Technology under the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry will be made by late January, executive director of the fund Elchin Zeynalov told Trend on Friday.

"The decision will be taken at the next meeting of the Supervisory Board of the State Fund by the end of the month," he said. "Five million manat to be allocated in the form of loans or grants through the authorized credit organizations were envisaged in the state budget to support start-up projects. Presumably, the financing of projects will begin in February."

The maximum grant amount may reach 300,000 manat (for 36 months). Small grants are envisaged to the amount from 10,000 to 100,000 manat, medium - from 100,000 to 200,000 manat, and large - from 200,000 to 300,000 manat.

The grants can not be granted to foreigners. A foreign entrepreneur can only act as a co-founder by investing some funds for the project development.

"An investor is expected to be attracted to the project at the final stage of its implementation to ensure its commercialization according to the grant delivery terms," he said. "Large funding may be allocated if we are sure that the submitted projects will turn into a real business and serve the development of entrepreneurship in the republic. That is, the idea must be transformed into a real business."

All necessary legal documents and preparatory work connected with the beginning of full activity of the fund are under completion. The fund will render financial support to entrepreneurs in the IT field. Moreover, the State Fund will also act as a shareholder in the investment projects.

The State Fund may acquire equity participation in the projects with foreign capital, he said.
The funding can be guaranteed if the projects are promising and profitable.
As for the preferential loans, they will be granted for a period of 10 years with an annual interest rate of five percent. The maximum loan amount may reach five million manat.

The State Fund's authorized agents are Pasa Bank, Bank Respublika, Demir Bank, Rabita Bank and BTB Bank.

"The banks are fully ready to work with the fund and start accepting projects in February," he said. "The mechanisms for allocation of the state fund's money and a range of projects that can be funded, are available on the fund's webpage (ictfund.gov.az /). The range is wide as today there is no area without information technology. We are willing to finance projects in various sectors. The fund's money will be available to all physical and legal entities if their projects meet the fund's requirements."

The application forms for funding will be available on the fund's webpage in the near future, he said. It is necessary to directly apply to the fund for getting grants. The fund will conduct the research. The final decision will be taken at the level of the supervisory board.
It is necessary to apply to the banks for obtaining loans.

The state fund's perspective plans for 2014 include organizing the business forums, conferences and trainings. The fund also intends to attract major international vendors to participate together with them in the newly established companies in Azerbaijan. The cooperation with vendors will become the main platform for delivering Azerbaijani products to the regional markets.

The official exchange rate is 0.7844 AZN/USD on Jan. 13.

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