Vezir H. lives in Bilasuvar, in the southern part of Azerbaijan. He is 50 years old, married, and has three children. Vezir is an internally displaced person from Jabrail - he fled to Bilasuvar during the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict. Vezir started his business in 1998 when he borrowed money from Aqroinvest CU for the first time to open a small store.
At his store, Vezir sells dried fruits and baked goods, as well as laundry powder, soap and shampoos. These products are in very high demand all across Azerbaijan. Particularly after Vezir repaid his first credit, the business has been going very successfully. Now, Vezir would like to enlarge the number of products he sells. He is working very hard and has decided to borrow US$1,200 USD from Aqroinvest CU to purchase dairy products and beverages for sale in the store.
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.