Born in gorgeous Zagatala, Rafael wished of returning to his homeland to live and create there. After having received a degree on applied mathematics in Baku, he did what he intended to do – he went back to Zagatala, although almost all jobs for a programmer like himself were in Baku. He opened a shop together with his brothers to sell telephones and accessories and started to apply the learnt on telephone applications. Thus, his business journey has started. Years passed, he got married, two children were born, his brothers also tied the knot, and their families likewise grew. But they still had a hard time with expanding their business. He was looking for the reason that did not let them go forward. After a long wait, at the time when he just turned 34 years old, he heard from TuranBank, a loyal customer of which he was, that within the EU-funded “Accelerating development of sustainable micro-entrepreneurship in rural regions of Azerbaijan” (ADSMIRRA) Project Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association (AMFA) was organizing training sessions for those who wanted to become an entrepreneur or expand his/her existing business in Zagatala. Rafael firmly assured his brothers that they had to join those trainings – they all had dreams: become a successful entrepreneur, open new jobs for others in their enterprises, and ultimately, create jobs for young people like themselves.
The new knowledge also shed light on one more issue that disturbed him for a long time. He knew Zagatala very well and often visited different villages of it. He was constantly noticing that villagers could not sell all crops, significant part of them, even sometimes half of them were left on trees unharvested and thus, spoiled. Undoubtedly, when those trees started sprouting up, their owner families began to make a plan how the fruit would be sold and the earned money would be spent. But unfortunately, now and again plans did not become a reality. Both families were deprived of their income and at the time when we were talking so much about responsible production and consumption ripe crops were lost in front of villagers’ eyes. Hence, during trainings the Sulkhayevs decided to start a new business – by together buying a fruit dryer, setting up a cooperative, and involving their wives as well, both to lay a new path for themselves and to serve their compatriots and the nature. The brothers having acquired a fruit dryer with the grant received within the Project, with all their might, have set to work. To begin with, Rafael reconstructed the old unused building in their yard to use as a production shop and warehouse, installed corresponding ventilation system, and took all necessary measures to ensure the regulation of humidity and temperature. The youngest brother started to procure fruits from villages, the eldest brother, in the meantime, took on marketing, branding, packaging issues, and the ladies entered the business by cleaning, washing, slicing, and drying fruits. The Sulkhayevs also engaged 7 other persons in seasonal work. In this way, they today market produced-under-special-quality-control dried persimmons, plums, cornels, apples, and other fruits and their chips under the brand “Magic Food”.