The EBRD Business Advisory Services (BAS) has helped a small bee-keeping company in Azerbaijan to expand its business.
The southern region of Lenkoran in Azerbaijan is well known for bee-keeping and the high quality of its honey. In this country apiculture products have always been in high demand, as they are used as ingredients in the national cuisine as well as for medicinal purposes.
A growing small business
Bahtiyar Jabiyev is the director of Lenkoran-2005, a local company that started a bee-keeping business in 2005. His company has grown from 5 to 52 workers and captures 70 per cent of the bee-farming and honey production market in the region. This is due to a stable client base of both individuals and corporate clients, such as restaurants and supermarkets.
Encouraged to continue growing by good results, Bahtiyar planned to increase sales by expanding his area of operations beyond the southern region. To assist him in this endeavour in 2010 the EBRD Business Advisory Services Team based in Azerbaijan matched Lenkoran-2005 with a local specialised consultancy company.
New market strategy
A consultant from this firm helped Bahtiyar to conduct market research that established existing unfulfilled demand for apiculture products. The research findings helped build a new marketing strategy based on the good quality of the products and the appealing packaging.
The project, which was funded partly by Austria and partly by Lenkoran-2005, helped identify a new niche export market to Georgia and Russia. Within a year of introducing the consultantant’s recommendations, Lenkoran-2005 has increased its annual turnover by 20 per cent and built a new production unit.
“Working with the consultant helped me attract more customers from Baku and increase sales. I also started exporting to Russia and Georgia, and have sent samples of honey to Germany,” says Bahtiyar already planning his next business move.