Safar is a 52 year-old man who sells carpets from his house. He has three years of experience in this field. He usually brings carpets from other countries and resells them at a profitable price. His monthly income is 300 AZN. This is a very profitable business because carpets are very popular and every family has at least one in their house. Carpets are also an integral part of marriage dowries. Safar is married and has two children. He has applied for a loan of 1,200 AZN in order to purchase more carpets and increase his income.
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.