Shahin F. is a 37-year-old farmer who owns a small business in the southern part of Azerbaijan, Saatli region. He breeds sheep and sells them to local people and bazaar traders. He has 7 years of experience in this field. Shahin is married and has one son and two daughters. Shahin is an IDP and it is difficult to support his big family and cover all their needs. As spring is season for weddings and he anticipates a greater demand, he would like to expand his herd and purchase 15 sheep for and fodder. For this purpose he is applying for a loan of $1200.
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.