Gulshan A. is a farmer. She is 40 years old, married, and has two children. Gulshan puts a lot of enthusiasm into the development of her farming efforts and cattle breeding because she is aware that they can help her children.
She sells fattened cattle to the local butchers and fruits to the local bazaar traders. Her monthly income is about $250-$315 and it is not enough to cover basic family needs. The unconditional support that she receives from her children provides her with optimism, and despite the financial shortcomings at home she tries to alleviate those shortcomings efficiently.
Her wish to improve the living conditions of her family brings her to request a loan to increase the quality and quantity of her products. Gulshan asks for a loan of 600 AZN. She wants to purchase one milk cow and seeds.
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.