Zuleykha A. is a 56-year-old woman. She is married and the mother of one son and two daughters, who are adults. The main source of income for the family comes from a cattle breeding business which Zuleykha has been in since her youth. Zuleykha is very grateful, because her first loan allowed her to increase her cattle breeding business. She has successfully repaid a previous loan of $1200 US from Aqroinvest and Kiva which was used to purchase livestock to raise and sell. Zuleykha and her family are very thankful for the support.
In January, 2011, Zuleykha requested a new loan of 2,000 Azerbaijani manats (AZN), which was used to purchase four cows and fodder. This is her second loan. Now the monthly income of her family is around 500 AZN. Zuleykha also has four sheep on her farm for family use. She and her husband are very diligent persons and they further plan to buy 10 hectares of land to expand their cattle breeding business.
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.