Gulsuma is a kind, very polite 52-year-old woman who is married with three daughters. She is a market vendor and has been selling home products for the last 16 years. She is very experienced, and the products she sells are varied and can satisfy any taste. She sells kettles, cups, table sets, electric goods, and everything necessary for a good dowry. Her monthly income is 230 AZN.
Gulsuma's husband is taxi driver, and his income is very low and not permanent. Now her business is the only stable financial source in her family. Being a taxi driver, her husband helps by bringing her dishes from neighboring cities.
Gulsuma has applied for 1200 AZN to purchase and diversify merchandise to make her shop more attractive for young brides.
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.