Panah is a forty-four-year-old man, married, with three children. He raises fruits and vegetables in his garden and has been doing it for the last twelve years. He is very experienced farmer and has deep knowledge of land and how to manage it. He was not able to find job for several years and than decided to start his own business.
Panah usually raises seasonal fruits and vegetables and sells them for profitable price in the central bazaar. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very popular and in high demand because people prefer to eat them every day and consider them very healthy. Also one of the favorite national dishes, Dolma, is made of fresh eggplants, peppers and tomatoes. His monthly income from this business is 120 AZN. This is the only source of income in his family.
Now Panah would like to invest more capital in his business and purchase seeds and fertilizers. For this purpose he applied for a loan of 1,000 AZN. As his business is the only source of income in his family, he hopes that the loan will improve his family's life. This will be his third loan, and he has a good credit 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.