Ramile M. is 25 years old. She is married and has a son. Her mother invited her to help sell clothing at the marketplace and she agreed to the offer. This is how she learned the skills necessary to manage a store. Now she has run the store since 2003. She sells woman's clothes, tights, socks and kerchiefs. Ramile thinks it is important to buy new merchandise so she can stock a wider variety of items, which in turn will attract more customers. She has applied for a loan of $1000 USD. This loan will help her to increase her income, and help her better support her family.
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.