Guldasta is a 46-year-old single woman living with her parents. She grows fruits and vegetables in the garden. She started this business four years ago. She chose this field because fresh fruits and vegetables are very popular in Azerbaijan. People like to eat them fresh and make fresh juices which is very healthy. She sells her crops in the central bazaar and her monthly income is 300 Azerbaijani manats (AZN). Raising crops takes a lot of strength and means working in the open air, which is very hard for women. Guldasta is a very strong woman and has the potential to work even harder to produce more crops.
Guldasta needs additional capital to invest in seeds and fertilizers. This will allow her to improve the quality of the products she grows and increase monthly turnover. For this purpose, she applied for a 1000 AZN loan.
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.