Almaz is 49 years old. She is a widow who raises her three children on her own. She is a vendor at the market and sells a variety of goods including flour, beverages, pasta, butter and candies. She has 15 years of experience and has deep knowledge of the market and client demand.
The food products Almaz sells are very popular and in high demand. Her monthly profit from selling food is 300 AZN. Her father helps by purchasing products and bringing them to her shop. This is the sole source of financial income for her family. She is a very successful entrepreneur due to her shop’s good location in the central bazaar of her home city.
Almaz has applied for a loan of 1,000 AZN loan in order to purchase more food products and diversify the range of goods she sells to meet customer demand. This will be her second loan and she has positive loan history.
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.