Polad I. is a 39-year-old man who lives in the southern part of Azerbaijan, an area called Bilasuvar. He is an IDP (Internally Displaced Person), who fled to Bilasuvar during the war in 1993. Polad is a diligent man and works very hard to cover all his family's needs. He has been raising animals for many years. He sells dairy products to the local bazaar traders and neighbours. Currently he has one calf and one milker cow. His poor financial situation has prevented him from buying a calf to expand his cattle-breeding business. Therefore, he has applied to Aqroinvest and Kiva for a loan. He used this loan to buy two more cows.
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.