Ramiz A. supports his parents with a small business selling men’s clothing and shoes. He operates from a little space at the central market in Agsu, Azerbaijan, where he maintains a nice variety of clothing from which to choose. Ramiz has been in business for 20 years. With good quality products and affordable prices, he has developed a solid customer base, and his business continues to grow. Ramiz has requested a loan to increase his working capital and allow him to purchase new inventory. This loan will help Ramiz to be prepared for the busy summer season so he can maximize his profits and provide for his family.
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.