Yashar S. is a 41-year-old man who runs a barber shop in the southern part of Azerbaijan. He is a very polite and respectful hairdresser and he has many permanent clients. His training allows him to serve only male clients.
Yashar starts his work at 8:00 in the morning and finishes between 9:00 and 10:00 at night. His busiest time is from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., because many of his clients come after work.
Yashar is married and has three children. All of his efforts are designed to improve their lives and provide them with an excellent education. He would also like to teach one of his two sons his profession, so that his business can grow some day.
Yashar has applied for a loan of $1200 to purchase modern tools for haircutting and, most importantly, to supply water to his barber 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.