Gulnaz is 41 years old, married, and has three children. She is a farmer, raising and selling seasonal fruits and vegetables, which she has been doing for over 10 years. Her monthly income is 120 AZN.
Gulnaz usually sells her crop in the central bazaar. People use fresh vegetables every day and consider them healthy. Many national dishes are made of vegetables. Fresh fruits are served at every table in Azerbaijan families.
Gulnaz is requesting a loan for 2,000 AZN, which she will use to invest in seeds and fertilizers as well as to buy more fruits and vegetables for her shop. This will allow her to improve the quality of products she raises and increase monthly turnover. Raising crops takes a lot of strength so Gulnaz's son helps her with the farm.
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.