Tahir S. is 55 years old. He is married and has four children. Tahir is the sole breadwinner for his family and his only income comes from raising sheep and selling them at the local market. Every year he buys lambs from the farms in adjacent villages. He raises them with the help of his wife and then sells the adult sheep to local butchers.
People in Azerbaijan uses mutton in everyday life and this business is very profitable, especially if you can cover high demand. Tahir is thinking about expanding his business, since the income from his present herd isn't enough to provide for his family and cover needs of his clients. He plans to purchase additional sheep and lambs; to do this, he needs to invest an additional 1000 AZN in his business.
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.