Sahiba A. is a 49-year-old entrepreneur who owns a beauty salon. She likes her job and started her business as soon as she had enough savings to open her own salon. Sahiba used to work in a general salon as a hair stylist but now she is independent and her monthly income is about 400 AZN.
Sahiba's beauty salon is very popular because she is very quality specialist. She has about 15-20 clients a day, for hair cuts, hair coloring and styling. Brides are especially good for income as their styling is quite expensive.
Sahiba is married and has three children. She has applied for a 1,000 AZN loan to purchase new tools and make renovations in her beauty salon.
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.