TBY talks to Elshad Abbasov, General Director of Embawood, on the company's presence, major events coming to the country, and plans for 2016.

Elshad Abbasov
Elshad Abbasov studied Geology and specialized in Geochemistry at Moscow State University. He has been the Vice President of the Equestrian Federation since 2009, and the Chairman of the State Attestation Commission for Timber Processing under the Azerbaijan State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering since 2010. He is the General Director of Embawood, a role that he has held since 1996.

Currently, Embawood has a presence in 10 countries. What criteria do you focus on to gain footing in foreign markets and are you considering expanding your scope of activity in the future?

Yes, we have ambitious targets. We have recently introduced the SalesForce program as a special Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to better know our customers, their wishes, and their needs. We have found solutions through our 2020 program to improve the quality of our production by reducing the net value of the product. The key criteria that we look for to enhance our presence in foreign markets includes customer-orientation, mutually beneficial cooperation with our partners, and the opportunity to gain a vital foothold in the economy of every country in which we operate

As Embawood is a company already involved in sport in Azerbaijan through sponsoring the First FIP Arena Polo European Championship, what are your expectations for the Formula One Grand Prix event coming to Baku this summer?

Azerbaijan already has a wealth of experience in the organization of prestigious international sport events and I hope the Formula One event will be held at a high level this year as well. Apart from the contribution to the improvement of international cooperation in sports, this event has economic and social benefits for Azerbaijan, as well as a positive impact on the development of the domestic tourism sector. I must also note that multiculturalism has already become a way of life in our country and the year 2016 has even been declared "the Year of Multiculturalism" in Azerbaijan. The high-level organization of such events makes major contributions to the tolerant traditions and intercultural values of our country.

Embawood concluded a memorandum of cooperation in the field of employment with the Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction (AUAC). What is the value added of this memorandum to your company?

Following the conclusion of the Memorandum, students from AUAC will be able to gain practical knowledge and the teaching staff will get an opportunity to closely familiarize themselves with the production process. A plan is in place to conduct joint scientific research works and realize student-teacher exchanges within the framework of this memorandum. Issues such as cooperation opportunities and the development of joint education programs have been discussed and negotiations were held regarding joint staff preparation and the development of scientific research projects, which will assist in the development of future professionals in Azerbaijan.

As an Azerbaijani company, what importance do the parliamentary elections of 2015 hold for your business and the country at large?

Elections are key indicators of a modern democratic society. This key tool safeguards society from the threat of injustice and dictatorships. The transparent election process works to reflect the will of the Azerbaijani people. It is also a sign of stability and positively influences the dynamic development of entrepreneurship and society.

What are your company's prospective targets for 2016, given that this year marks the 20th anniversary of Embawood?

Considering the current macroeconomic factors at play in the markets where Embawood is present, we have set a target to assess the maximum export potential level for our products in 2016, our 20th Anniversary. We believe our market classification policy will be successful in this regard. The export activities of our company will enhance our goals and improve the national export market. By getting closer to consumers in the countries where we are present, we will further promote our goal of building a positive image of our Azerbaijani brand and product. As a company, we will continue to stand close to our consumers and meet their wishes and needs at the highest level in 2016.