Sonaxanim is a 57-year-old mother of four children and married. Sonaxanim and her family live in Agsu, where she and her husband work in a grocery store they opened five years ago. She wants to expand her business. Her plan is to build a store of her own and expand it from a grocery store to a little supermarket. Sonaxanim asked for a loan to increase the goods sold in her store to include food like flour, rice and sugar. With this loan, she will be able to accelerate the process of opening a supermarket of her own.
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.