IMON International began in 1999 as a program of the National Association of Business Women of Tajikistan, in partnership with Mercy Corps, under the name “Microloans in Tajikistan.” This initiative brought international microfinance techniques to Tajikistan for the first time. Today IMON is the country’s largest MFI, and the bank has begun expanding into the SME space in recent years. IMON has more than 109,000 customers throughout 28 regions of Tajikistan, who it provides with a range of services including lending, leasing, consulting and advisory.
With its origins as an initiative of the National Association of Business Women, serving women entrepreneurs is in IMON’s DNA. The bank provides a range of non-financial services to women entrepreneurs, encompassing access to knowledge, information, networking and confidence building. IMON works with the National Association of Business Women to provide business courses and business planning, and the bank has also developed women-focused content with the ILO covering business education, leadership development, confidence and communication. The bank also supports a women entrepreneur network and awards for successful Tajikistan women business owners. In 2015, along with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, entered into a parallel lending arrangement to provide IMON US$16.5 million to boost lending to MSMEs in the country’s remote and rural areas, with a special focus on women entrepreneurs.