Zumrud is a 47-year-old woman, who is married with two children. She is a market vendor, and sells different kinds of goods such as flour, beverages, macaroni, butter and candies. She has five years of experience, and has a deep knowledge of the market and demand of clients. Her pension is not enough to cover basic needs, and she decided to start her own business.
The food products she sells are very popular among people and are in high demand. Her monthly profit from selling foods is 200 AZN. Her husband helps to purchase products and bring them to the shop. This is the sole financial income for her family. She is a very successful entrepreneur because of a good location in the central bazaar of her home city.
She applied for a 1500 AZN loan to purchase more food products and to diversify her range of goods to cover customers` demand. This will be her second loan, and she has a good client 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.