Arzu A. is a 44-year-old woman with two children. She has bred cattle for the last ten years. Poverty and lack of jobs pushed her to start her own business. As Arzu had previous experience working on a farm, her business has gone well and today, she has five cows. She also has enough room and fodder for even more cattle. So she decided to take a loan of 900 AZN and purchase more cattle and sheep. She wishes to increase her current income from 250 AZN to 500 AZN and the loan will allow her to do that. With her first loan from KIVA she was able to improve her business and recommended herself as a trust-worthy client of AqroInvest.
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.