Gulaya M. is a 59-year-old woman who is engaged in the poultry breeding business. She has more than 20 years of experience in this field and poultry is the only financial source for her family. She raises and sells turkey, which is very popular among local people. Gulaya has had a very difficult life. She is an internally displaced person who suffered during the Azerbaijan-Armenian war in 1992. During the war, she lost everything, her house, her business and most important, her child. Gulaya and her husband do believe that a new loan will help them to improve their living conditions and bring more income.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 farmers from Imishli. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, owned by its more than 5,400 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$12 million.
AqroInvest is focused on providing loans to the following groups of people: rural farmers, people living in distant southern villages with little or no access to finance and internally displaced people and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during the violent conflicts in the 1990s.
In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new project with Kiva proving higher education loans to students. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their education and helps pay for tuition fees at various universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.