Ahsan is a 30-year-old internally displaced person who lives in the Bilasuvar IDP settlement with his wife and two children. He is farmer who has raised seasonal fruits and vegetables for the last four years. During that time, Ahsan has gained enough skills and experience to run his business. He chose his business because it is profitable and fresh fruits and vegetables are in high demand since people use them every day and they are healthy. Many Azerbaijan national dishes, such as pilau and dolma, are made with vegetables, and fresh fruits are served on every Azerbaijan family table along with fresh punch. Ahsan usually sells his crop in the central bazaar and earns a monthly income of 300 AZN.
Ahsan is requesting a 1,500 AZN loan to expand his business and produce more fruit and vegetables to meet market demand. He will use his loan to buy new garden tools, seeds, and fertilizer. He has a good credit history and this will be his fourth 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.