Guldasta is a 38-year-old woman, divorced, with two children. She is a market vendor and has sold women's clothes for the last three years.
She started her business because her husband left her without daily bread and he was not helping her after divorce. Now she rents a place on the central bazaar and her monthly income is AZN 130. Her older son helps her to sell clothes.
Guldasta knows the taste of her customers very well and that’s why her business is successful. She applied for a loan of AZN 1500 to purchase clothes for the upcoming spring season. 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.