Qiyas M. is 40 years old, married. He was born and lives in the southern Azerbaijani town Imishli. Qiyas owns a store, where he sells bath supplies, laundry powder, soap and shampoos. He started his business in 2000, and, since the business has been going very well, Qiyas decided to expand the variety of products he sells. He has applied for a loan of US$1,200 to make the first bulk purchase of various food products for sale. The estimated total cost of the products he intends to purchase, such as milk, yoghurt, meat products and beverages, is approximatly US$3,500.
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.