Sevda is a 45-year-old divorced woman raising one son alone. She is a market vendor and sells different kinds of goods, such as flour, beverages, macaroni, butter, and candies. She has 27 years of experience and has deep knowledge of the market and the demands of her clients.
The food products she sells are very popular among people and are in high demand. Her monthly profit from selling food is 200 AZN. Her son helps to purchase products and brings them to the shop. This is the sole financial income for her family. She is a very successful entrepreneur because of the good location of her market, which is in the central bazaar of her city.
Sevda applied for a loan of 1,000 AZN to purchase more food products and diversify the range of goods offered to her customers.
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.