Hafiz M. is 43, married and has 3 children. He started his own business in 1996 because his salary as an engineer wasn’t enough for the family expenses. Hafiz, together with the help of his wife, sells food such as butter, tea, cookies, and pastries, in the local market. The generated income allows Hafiz to support his family. He dreams of educating all of his children with a higher education. Today, he is requesting a loan of 2000 USD that he will use to expand the range of goods he sells. The income he will receive will be spent on the well-being of his family, as well as for his children's education.
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.