Ehtiram M. is a 49-year-old farmer who sells seasonal fruits and vegetables together with his wife. Ehtiram has three children. He sells the fruits and vegetables in the street of his home city, Sabirabad, and has been doing it for the last three years. He applied for a loan of 1000 AZN to purchase seeds and fertilizer. He wishes to open his own shop next to his house in the near future.
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.