Abbasali Z. is a 25-year-old, single man. Abbasali has a food store where he sells different kind of goods such as candies, cookies, tea, macaronis, washing powder, matches and other goods. He proudly states that he has been in this line of business for two years. The income he is able to generate from his business allows him to support his family (he is the sole breadwinner for his parents). Abbasali purchases his goods from a neighboring city. He is requesting a loan in the amount of $1200 USD over a 15-month term, the proceeds of which will be used to expand his inventory of goods (i.e., he plans to purchase additional confectionaries). Abbasali thanks everyone for their support, and he promises to repay his loan on time.
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.