Shafa is a 39-year-old man, married, with two sons. He sells seasonal fruits and vegetables, such as pears, oranges, apples, pomegranates, bananas, onions, potatoes, and cabbages. Shafa has 12 years of experience in this field and he has gained necessary skills and knowledge required for his business.
Fruits are very popular among Azerbaijan people and are in high demand during the year. People like to eat it fresh and this is one of the main desserts for guests.
Shafa's shop is located in the center bazaar and people always pass his shop and come to buy some fresh fruits. His monthly income from this business is AZN 150. Shafa's wife helps him to sell fruits.
Shafa wants to expand his business. The amount of products he sells is not enough to cover the high demand. He would like to purchase more fruits and vegetables and increase his turnover as well as to improve the lives of his family. For these purposes, he applied for an AZN 1,000 loan.
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.