Mirelem is 54-year-old married man with four children. He sells electrical goods in the center of his home town. He has 10 years of experience in this field, and people consider him to be an experienced and skilled person.
He started his business because he was not able to find a job to cover the needs of his family. The products he sells are very popular among local people, especially perfumes and children's clothes. His monthly income is 110 AZN. Mirelem is not alone in his business; his wife helps him to choose products for sale because she has good taste.
Mirelem knows what his customers need and which products are in demand, and he wishes to expand his business. For this purpose, he applied for a loan of 2000 AZN. He will use it to purchase more goods for his shop.
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.