Rakhila is a 53-year-old farmer who has raised fruits and vegetables for the last 15 years. She is widow and has three children. She usually sells her crops in the local bazaar. Her son helps her to raise crops and take them to the bazaar. Rakhila's business brings in 300 Azerbaijan Manats (AZN) in profit but this is too low to cover the family's needs. Rakhila applied for a loan of 1000 AZN to purchase seeds and fertilizers.
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.