Rasim is 40 years old and has a family -- two sons and a wife. He is involved in business, buying small calves, fattening them, and then selling the meat. He has been doing this business for 15 years and is very experienced. This is the only source of income for his family. He works very hard to give a good education to his sons.
Rasim sells meat in the central bazaar, in his shop. In Azerbaijan, people consume meat a lot, because many of the local meals are made primarily of beef. This is true especially on holidays, when people make traditional meals like kebobs, dolma, and pilaf, and they purchase more meat.
Rasim has taken a loan from Aqroinvest four times before, and this is his fifth loan. He has a good client history. This time, he requires a loan of 2,000 AZN. He will use it to buy four calves, to sell the meat in the upcoming summer. He expects that restaurants will buy more beef then, due to an increase in kebob sales that is typical in summer, in Azerbaijan.
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.