Nazkhanim Mammadov is 55-year-old trader who owns her store where she sells toiletry and makeup products. Nazkhanim is married and has three children. She lives in Imishli region which is situated in the southern part of Azerbaijan. She opened her store in 1996 when she borrowed $800 USD from Aqroinvest CU. She started to sell different sorts of shampoos and soaps. This brought her good income and she returned the money during her paying back period. Nazkhanim retired and her pension is approximately $27-30 USD. Her store is the first income in her family and she is working very hard. She expanded the products in her store and now she is going to open a food section; for the first time she is going to sell beverages and preserved food. She applied for a loan of $1200 USD.
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.