Almaz A., 43 years old, makes honey and breeds bees. She has four years of experience in making honey and she also works in a honey-making factory. Almaz is married and has two sons. Her honey is very popular and in high demand among local people. Her monthly income is dependent on the season; in the summer, she earns about 300-400 AZN and in the winter her income is about 150-200 AZN. She applied for a 1,000 AZN loan to expand her business and earn as much as possible during the summer period. She would like to purchase new sorts of bees which make more quality honey.
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.