Vikram Akula : Social Entrepreneur
Founder and CEO of SKS Microfinance Private Limited has been named the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 in India. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance and President of the India National Congress presented the award to Dr. Akula during the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit.
Dr. Akula said, “This award is an affirmation of the entrepreneurial spirit of the poor women working across India.” The Schwab Foundation and the Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation have collaborated with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and UNDP to select and award the ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ in India. Today, SKS is one of the fastest growing microfinance institutions in the world, having provided over $180 million in loans to nearly 632,000 women in the nation. In the last year alone, SKS achieved nearly 161% portfolio growth, with a current portfolio outstanding of $68 Million and a 98% on-time repayment rate. In addition to rapid expansion, SKS leads the industry in the use of innovative technologies. It is one of the first MFIs in the world to have a fully-automated MIS. SKS also has pioneered the use of smart card technology at the village-level and is currently working with VISA International on a pilot project to develop and deploy wireless POS devices that would automate field operations and significantly reduce transaction costs.
According to Vikram Akula, he started SKS because I was overwhelmed by the poverty I saw in India and was looking for a way to catalyze rapid economic development for the poor.
He holds a B.A. from Tufts, an M.A. from Yale, and has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on the impact of microfinance. He has received several awards for his work with SKS, including the Echoing Green Public Service Entrepreneur Fellowship.
Vikram worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. He has over a decade of work and research experience in microfinance. As a Fulbright Scholar in India, he coordinated an action-research project on providing micro-credit for food security. He was also a researcher with the Worldwatch Institute, where he wrote articles focused on poverty and development, worked as a community organizer with the Deccan Development Society in India.
Time Magazine’s 100 people of the year in 2006 .
Echoing Green Public Service Entrepreneur Fellowship.