Shirinbayim is a 55-year-old woman on a pension. She is married and has three adult sons. She started her business 16 years ago, because of her small pension. Her monthly income is 120 AZN. Her husband helps her to purchase and bring the stock to the shop. Now she sells women's clothes in the bazaar, and she wants to renew her stock by purchasing clothes for Spring season. With the national spring holidays, Novruz, approaching, she needs to invest in a new collection of women's clothes.
She applied for 2,000 AZN, which she will use to purchase new clothes and an updated spring collection. This will be her fourth 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.