Gulnaz S. is a 46 year-old woman who has a primary education. She is from Nagorno-Karabakh but fled with her family to Bilasuvar at the beginning of the 1990s. Now she lives with her family in a small settlement built for refugee families. Gulnaz is married and has a 25 year-old son and a 23 year-old daughter. Her husband and children help her in the cattle-breeding business which she started in 2007. Now the family's monthly income is on average 250 AZN. This is her first loan with Aqroinvest and Kiva 1000 AZN which she used to buy three cows. Now she has six cows. After she repays this loan she plans to apply for more loans to expand her business. Her goal is to have thirteen cows.
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.