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Education is in demand by everyone, everywhere. So there are opportunities to open educational businesses even in rural areas, as Vusala Ahmadova, an entrepreneur from Azerbaijani city of Tovuz, knows firsthand.

Some years ago Ahmadova, an English teacher from north-west Azerbaijan, decided to open her own business, and started to cast around for opportunities. After a while, she settled on the area she knew best – education – and opened in Tovuz the branch of Edu Prime Education Academy.

This private educational institution offers various classes for children's mental and physical development, early development, and preparation for primary school. It offers a range of other subjects, including language classes, for which Ahmadova makes use of the experience she gained from years of studying and working as a teacher.

But first of all, to become an entrepreneur she herself had to take some training and work on her own skills. Only after that did entrepreneur have enough knowledge about the education business to be able to achieve success. 

Providing financial stability

After taking some training, Ahmadova still felt she needed to boost here confidence in order to develop her new business. She was not sure if she would be able to hire more employees, provide them financial stability, and make her business grow. That’s where the EU-funded project "Improved Support for Entrepreneurial Development in Rural Areas," part of the EU4Business initiative, came to her aid.

As part of the project, Ahmadova along with other woman entrepreneurs took part in training on self-assessment and improving self-esteem, gaining useful information for business planning and other important issues.

"I started almost everything from scratch, so I had a lot of difficulties, both financially and in terms of skills,” Ahmadova says.

“In order to develop and move forward, I was constantly looking out for innovations, and I always joined in events and training. I’ve gained knowledge everywhere and am trying to apply it in my work.

Supporting women’s entrepreneurship

The "Improved Support for Entrepreneurial Development in Rural Areas" project was launched on 8 May 2019. The overall objective of the project is to contribute to business development and employment generation across all economic regions of Azerbaijan, with a particular emphasis on improving rural livelihoods and the quality of life in rural areas. One important component of the project is focuses on developing the skills and confidence of rural women to enable them to become entrepreneurs.

Ahmadova heard about the "Improved Support for Entrepreneurial Development in Rural Areas," project from a friend and immediately decided to take part. The entrepreneur notes that the most valuable part of joining in the project for her was that she was able to gain knowledge and meet new people.

"I’d definitely recommend that other people take part in this type of project, because it creates self-confidence and helps strengthen your business,” Ahmadova says.

“I have about 15 employees. The project has made it possible to provide income for all of them, which is a source of pride for me. Through the projects we join, we women entrepreneurs are supporting each other, connecting women working in different fields and helping them to find customers."

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