Fatma is a 53 year-old farmer who raises seasonal fruits and vegetables and has three years of experience in this field. She is an IDP (internally displaced person) and lives in Bilasuvar IDP Settlement with her mother. She sells fruits and vegetables in the central bazaar and her income from this business is 400 AZN. Fatma and her mother live on a pension, which is very small, and on the profit her business generates. She would like to expand her business and for this purpose she applied for a 1,000 AZN loan.
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.