Heyran M. is a 57-year-old entrepreneur who has been involved in the poultry business for the last 12 years. She is married and has four children. Heyran sells chicken and geese to the local cafes and once a month at the livestock bazaar. Her monthly income is about 150-200 AZN. Heyran also keeps cows for milk and dairy products for her family. She would like to expand her livestock business, so she applied for a 600 AZN loan to purchase one milking cow and more poultry.
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.