Elchin A. is 44 years old. He sells toys for children in his store in Agsu city. He is married and has three children. Elchin likes selling. His wife helps him. Elchin started his business in 2006. He decided to start his own business when he found himself without an income. With his savings he was able to purchase the first merchandise for his store. For the last five years he has been building his business. Elchin applied for 1000 AZN to purchase more merchandise to sell in his store so he can increase his income.
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.