İslam M. is a married father of two sons. His family lives in Agsu city where İslam runs a small grocery store downtown. İslam's store is well known in the neighborhood as he serves his customers well and works late hours, which is very convenient for many customers who work late and go shopping after they are done with work. İslam has been in business for 9 years. Currently he is seeking a loan of 2000 USD to purchase more inventory, so he can increase the variety of goods he offers. İslam had some struggles when his business was growing and becoming self-sustainable, but he handled all those challenges pretty well and is looking toward the future with much enthusiasm and optimism.
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.