Nurlan M. is a young entrepreneur of 19 years who is responsible for looking after his elderly parents. Nurlan began working at 17, assisting his father with his father's shop. Now Nurlan is responsible for the whole shop. His working day starts at 8 a.m. and finishes at 10 p.m. He sells cell phone accessories in the center of Lankaran, a city in the southern part of Azerbaijan. Nurlan has requested a 1606 AZN loan so he can increase the number of items he sells and also purchase cell phones for resale, as they are in very high demand by the local population.
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.