Gulbadam Q. is a 50-year-old woman who sells different clothes and home products in the bazaar of Agsu. She is married and has three children. Gulbadam started her business in 2008 and her income was about 50 Azerbaijani manats (AZN), but her professionalism and good taste brought her a lot of customers as well as good profit. Now her monthly turnover is 200 AZN and she wishes to increase it to 400 AZN. For this purpose, she applied for a loan of 1000 AZN to purchase more products to sell.
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.