Founder, SKS Microfinance
Vikram Akula is a pioneer in market-based approaches to financial inclusion. He is the Founder and Chairperson Emeritus of SKS Microfinance, one of the world’s largest financial inclusion companies (www.sksindia.com). He is also Chairperson of VAYA, a financial inclusion start up in India.
Vikram began working in rural development in 1990, initially as a grassroots social worker in India. In 1997, he founded SKS Microfinance as a non-profit and then converted it to a for-profit in 2005. He led the company to a successful IPO in 2010 reaching a market capitalization of $2.2 billion and an outreach of 7.3 million low-income borrowers in 2011, by which time it had disbursed more than $5 billion in micro-loans as well as micro-insurance products. Vikram left SKS in November 2011.
For his work in financial inclusion, Vikram was named by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006. He has a BA from Tufts, an MA from Yale, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, was a Fulbright Scholar, and has worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and as a researcher with the Worldwatch Institute. He is the author of A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability, published by Harvard Business Press. Vikram was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in India (Start Up in 2006 and Business Transformation in 2010), the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, the Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year in India in 2006, and is a 1998 Echoing Green Public Service Fellow.
Vikram is also a Director in AgSri (a sustainable agriculture company focused on helping small sugarcane farmers reduce water use), in Bodhi Educational Society (which provides education for under privileged children in India), and the Next Generation Leadership Board of the Indian School of Business in India.