Elyas is a 50-year-old farmer who raises and sells seasonal fruits and vegetables. He sells crops in the local bazaar. His monthly income is 200 AZN, and this is the sole financial income for his family. Elyas has 10 years of experience in farming. Now he thinks it is time to grow and he would like to get ahead in satisfying customers' demands. He would like to purchase more seeds and organic fertilizers in order to have more crops for next spring. For this purpose, he applied for an 1,000 AZN loan.
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.