Samir R. is 26 years old. He is a young trader who sells seasonal fruits and vegetables. He uses his father’s car to go to the local farmers to purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables and afterwards, takes them to the most crowded street of Imishli city to start selling them. He also has a place in the center bazaar, but he goes there every second day of the week. This type of business is very profitable and, at the same time, very hard. Samir wakes up at 5 a.m. to go to the local farmers and by 9 a.m. he usually begins his sales. He enjoys his work because he is very sociable. Samir is married and has three children. He works for welfare of his family and to improve their living conditions. He has applied for a 1600 AZN loan.
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.