Nurana is a 47-year-old married woman with four children. Six years ago, when in the country there was a book deficit, especially in towns, she decided to open a bookstore. She stared in a small rented place with 10 books. Now demand is so high that Nurana expanded her business and have more than 200 books in her store. She also sells notebooks and other office supplies.
Nurana's husband works as a driver and his salary is only 120 AZN. Nurana's business brings her a constant profit of 300 AZN each month. She applied for a 700 AZN loan to improve her shop and purchase books from Russia, which are very popular among the local people.
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.