Shirkhan Q. is a 41 yearold businessman who owns a small farm in the southern part of Azerbaijan in the Bilasuvar region. He sells dairy products to the local people and bazaar traders.He isan internally dislocated person who fled to Bilasuvar from Nagorny Karabakh during the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict in 1993. Shirkhan is married and has four children. He started his business in 2002 when he purchased is first cow and a calf. Animal breeding and his dairy business brought him good income, however last two years the prices for products increased two fold and life in villages is getting harder every year. He has a big family and growing children. Their needs increase every year also. Expenses in his family are great. One way of solving the problem and normalizing the financial side of their life is to expand the business. So Shirkhan has applied for 1200 USD to purchase 4 additional calves and fodder for winter. The estimated cost for calf is 300 USD.
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.