Vijay is 30 years old man, married and the father of two children. For the last eight years, he has earned a living by breeding cattle. After several attempts to find job, he gave up and decided to start his business. He buys calves when they are still small, then raises and fattens them for 5-6 months before reselling them in a local livestock bazaar. His monthly income is 1,000 AZN and his business is the only source of income for his family. Beef is in very high demand in Azerbaijan because people use it in everyday dishes. Vijay wants to expand his business and improve his family's living conditions. He has applied for a loan for 1,500 AZN loan to buy two calves and a cow that will produce milk.
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.