Sayyab is a 57-year-old man who lives and works in the small village in the Imishli region. Sayyab is married and has four children. He owns a small café where he serves local people national dishes and tea. Tea is the most popular beverage in Azerbaijan and people like to sit for hours and drink tea with homemade jam. He has 10 years of experience in the service business, however he opened his café just two years ago.
Sayyab`s son helps him to run the business and serve clients. Being polite and friendly helps Sayyab to provide the best quality service to his clients. In the evenings, his café is full because that is the time when local men join together to chat over a couple kettles of tea.
The monthly profit from Sayyab`s business is 300 AZN. He would like to expand his business, and for this purpose he applied for a 1,000 AZN loan. He will use the loan to make renovations and purchase new chairs, tables, and tableware. This will be his second loan, and he has a good credit history.
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.