Yashar is 36-years-old, married, and has two children. He runs a blacksmith shop where he makes wrought-iron gates, railings, and chairs. He has been in this business for the past 14 years and earns a monthly income of 200 AZN, which he uses to support his family members.
Yashar wants to expand his business in order to serve more customers. He wants to buy new machinery that would make him capable of diversifying his output; therefore, he is asking to borrow 1000 AZN. His hopes and dreams are to open a wholesale shop and live a stable life with his family.
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.