Arif, who is 46 years old, lives in Agsu, Azerbaijan, with his wife and four chilldren.
He owns and manages a variety store in their village, selling grocery items and some fruits and vegetables. Arif has been in this business for 15 years.
Arif is a very hard-working entrepreneur. He asked a loan of 2,000 AZN to buy additional stocks for sale. In the future, he would like to save money to expand his business and to buy new house for his son.
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.