Samir A. is a 31-year-old man who sells seasonal fruits and vegetables in Agsu city. He started his business in 2009 and since that time has become very successful. His monthly income is about $375. The fruits and vegetables he sells are very good quality, and local people buy all of them in several hours.
Samir is married and has one son. He would like to earn enough to open one more shop in another place in his city. Because the products he sells are in very high demand, he believes in his success.
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.