Elchin is 26 and single. He makes his living as a market vendor, having sold fruit and vegetables as well as running a small clothes shop for seven years.
Over this period of time, Elchin had acquired the knowledge and skills required to succeed in this business. For instance, he knows how to store fruit so that it remains marketable and does not lose its taste. He sells watermelons, apples, pears and pomegranates in his town's central market.
He is well-known in this market for his attractive prices and friendliness. All of this allows Elchin's business to generate the stable income his family needs. During summertime, demand for Elchin's products is high. That is why he is planning to buy more fruit to sell. He is requesting a loan of 700 Azerbaijanian Manat (AZN) that will allow him to do this and expand 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.