Elman is a 53-year-old married man from Imishli. He is living with his wife and two sons. He has owned a small grocery store for 15 years, selling cheese, juices, bread, daily use and dairy products. He has a deep understanding of local consumer needs. His store is situated in a crowded area so there are a good number of customers passing by.
Elman requested to borrow 1,000 AZN from Kiva's partner, AqroInvest CU, to increase his shop’s inventory. He is optimistic about his business development and hopes that the coming years will continue to bring him positive growth.
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.