On 2 February 2021, ADA University Center of Excellency in EU Studies (CEEUS), University of Kent and Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts have jointly conducted an opening session of the Creating Enterprise: The Business Start-up Journey- Azerbaijan/UK project that will be implemented by the consortium for the second consecutive year within British Council’s Creative Spark Program. The grant will enable the consortium to continue existing and develop new entrepreneurial programs and learning resources for students and academic staff engaged in the creative industry.


The opening session has been attended by the project consortium members, British Council representatives, students and staff engaged into the creative industry. “Over the past five years ASPIRE has been developing programmes to support student start-up businesses and develop entrepreneurial skills.It is very exciting to be working with ADA University and ASUCA to share our experiences. It’s been an inspiring journey, from the start where we were working with a handful of students, to today where many hundreds have taken part in our programmes. In these deeply troubling times, we have never needed the power of entrepreneurship, its innovation and vision, more” said the Dean of Kent Business School, Professor Marian Garcia at the opening session.


Ms Nargiz Ismayilova, Director of the CEEUS has emphasized that the project will support students in shifting their skills in business and creative entrepreneurship. She has also said: “During the first year the project contributed to the creative enterprise sector in Azerbaijan through developing the skills of young generation from arts, business and IT field and to enable them to develop viable start-up ideas. The program activities were built in the specific way platform empowering students with creative ideas connecting them to students from business and IT field to strengthen their innovative capabilities to the benefit of creative industry.”


The second year’s funding comes as acknowledgement of  successful collaboration that was built among ADA University, ASUCA and Kent Business School during 2019-2020 when partners have conducted an academical study visit  to the University of Kent  for knowledge exchange at   ASPIRE Accelerator Center  and have jointly developed and implemented first round of the  Business Start-Up Journey training program. ASPIRE Project Officer, Rebecca Smith has spoken about importance of mentorship starting from formulating vague ideas to launching them and importance of entrepreneurial skills and mindset in building resilience and leadership.


Ms Nargiz Huseynova and Ms Sevinj Aghazada who joined the meeting on behalf of the British Council office in Azerbaijan have welcomed the project partners and participants quoting Richard Everitt, Regional Director, British Council Wider Europe “There has never been a greater need for innovative business ideas to help boost economies around the world and tackle youth unemployment. At the British Council we are pleased to be supporting students, graduates and entrepreneurs who have the potential to make a huge difference to our world”



The project’s second year will continue developing educational models on entrepreneurship, fostering knowledge exchange on content development, and advancing staff capacity in delivering entrepreneurial education


British Council’s Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme is a five-year initiative to support international university and institutional partnerships to develop enterprise skills and creative economy across seven countries in Central Asia, South Caucasus and Ukraine through UK support. In order to support higher education reform and respond to unemployment rates in these seven countries, we will use the UK’s experience to help develop enterprise education. This way we will support over 10,000 students and young entrepreneurs in the first year of the programme.