Rauf E. is a 37-year-old master barber who has run his business for the last 10 years. He is married and has two children. Rauf started his business after he went to special barber school and since that time he has been a master barber for men. Rauf says that he dedicates his life to his adorable children and would like to provide them the best future. For this purpose he applied for a $1,200 loan to improve his work conditions and to purchase new barber tools.
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.