“It’s one thing to see a market for something and quite another to figure out how you are going to satisfy it. And still another to make the whole thing happen. Once you’ve got the first two taken care of, leave it to Access Bank to find a solution," says Serxan Dadasov Serdar, whose retail clothing business benefitted from support made available under the European Fund for South East Europe (EFSE), and EU4Business.
About eight years ago, the demand Serxan Serdar saw needed meeting in his corner of Azerbaijan – Quba, about two hours up the coast from Baku – was for popular yet affordable clothing. He and his brother pooled their savings, purchased some inventory and started out selling from two small shops they managed to rent at a good rate. “We got off to a very good start, thanks to an eye for what would sell and a nose for good deals as we searched for suppliers,” Serxan says.
What he soon realised was that, to maximise the potential of the straightforward concept of great clothing at great prices, one large store would be a lot better than two small ones. Besides offering a much wider selection, ‘Serdar Bros.’ would be able to cut overheads virtually in half. These savings could then be passed on to the customer, making apparel even more affordable than it already was.
In 2014, Serxan and his brother decided it was time to see about financing. In Access Bank they found a partner who not only understood their business, but also was able to provide valuable advice on how to build their customer base and set their business on a sustainable path to greater success. The bank facilitated the move into larger premises as well. All the experience gained in the first eight years soon bore fruit. The new, bigger store not only caters for local retail customers. Serxan now also has the storage capacity to serve other businesses as a wholesaler, too.
European Fund for South East Europe
Part of the EU4Business initiative, the European Fund for South East Europe aims to foster economic development and prosperity through the sustainable provision of additional development finance, notably to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) and to private households, via qualified local financial institutions like Access Bank in Azerbaijan.
Under the EU4Business initiative, EFSE has disbursed more than 50,000 sub-loans to small businesses like Serxan’s in Azerbaijan, with an average loan size of just over €4,000.