Vahida Z. is a hard-working woman who lives in Sabirabad. She is 55 years old and lives with her husband and three children — two daughters and one son — aged between 23 and 28. Her son and husband are engaged in agriculture which did not cover all the family's needs. In 2005, to help provide for the family, she went into the business of selling jewelry, and since has gained a lot of clients. Vahida sells rings, watches, bracelets and other gold accessories. This is the first loan Vahida has taken from Aqroinvest and Kiva. She used this loan of 1500 AZN to invest in her jewely inventory, so as to increase the number of items for sale and boost her profit.
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.