Azer A. is 39 years old and a shepherd. He has been running his business since 2000 in his home region, Imishli. He is married and has 2 daughters. His main activity is sheep breeding for meat production, and concurrently he is a butcher. Mutton is very popular all around Azerbaijan, and people use it in everyday cuisine. As his business is very popular, he needs to expand and thus applied for a loan of 1200 USD. With this loan he will purchase 20 sheep for an estimated cost of 60 USD each.
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.