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Sona Maharramova, an artist from Ganja and her first experience in small business


Sona Maharramova, a master of decorative and applied art, grew up in an artist’s family in Ganja. Though she is young, she has an extensive creative and teaching experience in art, mainly in the art of painting on glass.

Sona has participated in more than 100 exhibitions in our country, as well as in numerous competitions and projects. In 2015 Sona was awarded with the “Art Worker of the Year” title by Shamkir District Executive Power, and in 2017 she received a membership card from the “Decorative and Applied Arts” Department of the Union of Azerbaijan Artists.

Sona has taught art at Ganja Youth House for 8 years and creates very interesting works of art together with her students. Meanwhile, our heroine was thinking to set up her own business, however, she could not manage.

The EU-funded Project “Accelerating development of sustainable micro-entrepreneurship in rural regions of Azerbaijan” (ADSMIRRA) implemented by Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association (AMFA) supported Sona to take her first step in this direction. Getting more information about the Project made the young artist test her might.

Taking part in various activities within the framework of the Project, Sona presented a business plan for starting a micro business and won the sympathy of the jury and received a grant for starting her own business. With that money the young artist, first of all, acquired dishes (cups, pear-glasses, and teapots) to make special paints on them and specific dyes. Later she became the winner of the competition held within the framework of the Project in the category of “Young Entrepreneur”.

Today she has created “Handmade Glass”  website through which she presents her works and receives orders. She also demonstrates her masterpieces on the web platform, which has been developed and is maintained by the Project.

Sona has shared her thoughts with us: “Financial literacy, business plan writing, setting up a small private business – I used to be far from these concepts and thought those were not related to art. Over time, I realized that I should have my own  source of income. But at the same time, I did not know how and where to start”.

“Thanks to AMFA specialists, I was able to create a business initiative and present my favorite art to a wide audience. Thereafter my orders almost doubled. As a result of my participation in the Project, I ensured additional source of income which increased my self-confidence. This is the most important part of my involvement in the Project”.

Previously, Sona’s handicrafts were sold only in the exhibitions, but online sales have expanded her access to market significantly and stabilized. Even in 2020, when almost no art events were held due to the coronavirus pandemic, she was able to sell a large number of works through her online page. On the other hand, it became easier and more convenient for art lovers in Ganja to choose an interesting piece of art from their favorite artist and it was delivered to their doors.

Today Sona Maharramova follows current trends and reflects them in her works. Thus, getting inspired by the proclamation of 2021 in Azerbaijan as the Year of Nizami Ganjavi, Sona widely uses the poet’s heroes in her works.

Sona emphasized with satisfaction: “Based on  our country’s rich tea tradition, I decided to paint images of Nizami Ganjavi’s immortal characters on a pear-glass set”.

According to her, while participating in the Project, she figured out another important point – if you want to provoke interest of art lovers, you need to make sure that the presentation of works is pleasant and accurate and even pay attention to such small details as packaging. Currently, our heroine is working on this important issue.

While income is an important part of any endeavor, Sona advises students who want to devote their lives to creativity to focus on developing their skills. When you begin to display a positive attitude at work you can expect to see benefits.

AMFA implemented the European Union funded “Accelerating Development of Sustainable Micro-entrepreneurship in Rural Regions of Azerbaijan” (ADSMIRRA) Project in the economic regions of Ganja-Gazakh, Guba-Khachmaz, Shaki-Zagatala and Aran in 2018-2021. The Project aims at strengthening the potential of micro and small entrepreneurs in rural areas by providing trainings on financial literacy, business planning and trainings for cooperatives, mentoring, allocating capital for starting or expanding micro businesses, etc. In total, the Project has supported the launch of 37 start-ups, the expansion of 76 micro businesses and the creation of 83 jobs in rural areas of the country.