Aliaga, a 59-year-old man who lives in Imishli with his wife and their four children, has owned a grocery store for almost 10 years. He decided to start this business because he wanted to work independently. He sells canned food, candies, drinks, eggs, bread, etc.. Aliaga is special in his work because he knows how to treat his clients who are his friends and neighbors. He requested a loan, his first, from AqroInvest in order to purchase merchandise for his store. When Aliaga first started his business, he successfully confronted both financial issues and competition. In the future, he plans to expand his enterprise.
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.