Shovkat A. is 44 years old and married. She has nine years of experience growing and selling fruit. She uses all the money she makes to take care of her two sons and provide for their education. Shovkat always makes very productive use of her capital, adding inventory to her stock in a way that allows her to meet her customers' needs. She is also very polite and considerate, and her customers are always very happy with the service they receive from her. As her business is doing so well, she is increasing her net worth month by month. Today, Shovkat is requesting 1,600 AZN to purchase seeds and fertilizer in order to increase the variety of her goods. She is grateful to everyone for supporting her and promises to repay her loan in a timely manner.
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.