Ilham N., a 54-year-old married father of four children, has been selling household goods such as kettles, pails, basins and many other items for the past seven years in order to support his family. The business is quite successful, carrying goods that meet client demand, thereby generating a stable income that allows Ilham to improve the living conditions of his family and make his children happy. A successful client with one previous loan, he is now requesting 1400 AZN to enlarge the range of goods he carries. Ilham promises to repay on time.
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.