Mirgasim A. is 59 years old. He is married and has five children. After getting married, he arduously dedicated himself to farming. When he recognized the need to invest in his work, Mirgasim decided to raise seasonal fruits and vegetables. He sells his products in the local bazaar, earning an income of about $375 to $500 a month. He started his business in 1985 but he applied for his first loan in 2008. He repaid his first loan from KIVA successfully. He also keeps a shop of spare parts for cars, but his main business is farming because his products are in very high demand. He has applied for a loan of 1,000 AZN. With the loan, Mirgasim will purchase seeds and fertilizer for improving his land and his crops.
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.