Ramil N. is a 29-year-old butcher who sells fresh meat in his own small booth. He lives in the southern part of Azerbaijan, Imishli region with his wife, one son and one daughter. He started his business in 2000, when he first began help his father. He learned very soon how to cut meat and how to choose healthy animals for meat. Veal, beef and mutton are in very high demand all across Azerbaijan and people use meat in every day life. His meat booth used to bring him good income but as the economic situation in the country is unstable and prices for products rise every year. Ramil's income is not enough to cover family needs and Ramil has applied for 1200 USD to improve the conditions of his business, repair his place of work and to be able to purchase more animals for meat selling.
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.