Mehriban A. is 47, an enterprising woman, always happy to do good work. When she was young, she had the goal of self-improvement.
For about seven years she has been breeding cattle. Her elder son actively helps her to graze cows. This allows her to support her three children who are her reason for being. She has raised them alone since she is a widow. Mehriban's parents also live with them.
Mehriban wants to increase her capital to buy new animals so she can keep supporting the family. She needs a loan to purchase two baby cows.
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.