Gulshan is a 46-year-old widow with one adult daughter. She lives in the town of Agsu. To make a living, Gulshan raises crops. The main source of income for the business comes from planting and harvesting fruit for sale. Gulshan has been engaged in this business for more than eight years and earns approximately 250 AZN a month from these activities.
Gulshan joined AqroInvest to gain access to financial services to help improve her living situation and ability to engage in business activities. She has requested a loan of 1000 AZN, which will also be used to purchase fertilizer, such as manure. Gulshan plans to use the additional revenue generated from the business to improve and expand her business.
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.