Zumrud is a 31-year-old married woman. She has two daughters and one son. Zumrud's husband is engaged in an animal breeding business. This was previously the only source of income for the family, bringing a profit of 250 Azerbaijan New Manats (AZN), but this was too low to cover the family's needs. Two years ago she decided to help him and started to sell fruits and vegetables. Zumrud sells her crops in the local bazaar and her monthly income is 150 AZN. She requested 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.