Salminaz T. is a 44-year-old woman who sells calves for meat production. She has six years of experience in this field. She lives with her husband and three children in a small village in the Saatli region. As Salminaz and her husband are unemployed, selling calves to the local bazaar traders for meat is the only financial source for such a big family. She decided to purchase additional calves to improve the conditions of her family. For this purpose she applied for a loan of $1100 to purchase three calves for $300 each and fodder for $200.
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.