Svetlana M. is a 40 year old woman who sells milk in the Bilasuvar Internally Displaced Persons Settlement. She has more than 10 years of experience selling milk. Svetlana is married and has 3 children. Beside this business, she is also working in one of the local stores as a salesperson. However, her main source of income is selling milk and her salary as a salesperson is very meager, approximately 30 USD per month. Svetlana is requesting a 700 USD loan to purchase one milk cow. Expanding her business will help Svetlana to increase her income.
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.