Bakhtiyar is a 40-year-old man who is married and has two sons. He is a market vendor and sells potatoes, onions, and other seasonal vegetables in his wholesale market. He has ten years of experience in this field. He rents a car to drive around the villages and buy fresh potatoes and onions from local farmers which he then sells for a profit. He usually makes this gathering twice a month.
His business brings him a stable income of AZN 250 and this is the only source of income for his family. Fresh and organic vegetables are very popular among local people and Bakhtiyar always chooses the best to sell.
He applied for a loan of AZN 1500 to purchase more vegetables to sell as it is summertime and people use fresh vegetables almost every day. This will be his third loan and he has good client history.
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.