Agabala is a 53-year-old man, married with three children. He is a market vendor and sells spare parts and different motor oils in his shop. He has 10 years of experience in this field and his monthly income is 200 AZN. He started his business because he lost his job and he was far from being able to get a pension. The merchandise he sells is in high demand because he sells only high quality spare parts and motor oils, which is not usual for rural places.
Agabala applied for a loan of 2,000 AZN to purchase more spare parts in case to respond to customers' demand. This will be his second loan and he has a good client history.
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.