Shalala is 43 years old and married with 5 children. She is a market vendor who sells different kinds of goods such as cookies, pastas, ketchup, tea, and candies. She has 6 years of experience in this field. Her shop located in the central bazaar, which helps to make her business successful because a lot of people visit the bazaar during the day.
Shalala's monthly income is 100 AZN, which is too small to cover the needs of her beloved children. Her husband is a builder, and his salary is not permanent. To improve their financial situation, Shalala has decided to improve her business. She has applied for a loan of 1800 AZN to restock and diversify her inventory of food products. This will be her second loan, and she has a good loan history.
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.