Ashraf M., 48, is an experienced and very successful cattle breeder who has lived and raised cattle in Bilasuvar since 2002. Ashraf is married and has three children. He is a master of construction and builds houses on demand, but it happens very seldom, so Ashraf's main financial income comes from cattle breeding. He needs 1000 AZN to purchase two calves and fodder. This will allow him to sell more calves, increase his income and improve his family's living conditions.
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.