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Vikram Akula

Vikram AkulaVikram Akula was born in Hyderabad, India. He is the CEO and founder of SKS Microfinance, an organization that offers microloans and insurance to poor women in impoverished areas of India.

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.”

Education

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.

Career

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 World watch Institute, where he wrote articles focused on poverty and development, worked as a community organizer with the Deccan Development Society in India.

Vikram Akula is using advanced technology- smart cards, to make venture capital available to more of the 800 million people in India who live on less than $2 a day. Akula founder of SKS Microfinance started dispensing loans, typically $116, on smart cards, which its loan officers had been using to record repayments electronically. The plastic approach intrigued Visa International, which is now pairing SKS with cell phone-based card readers. The cash-free system is more efficient and safer too. Akula has already made SKS one of the fastest-growing microlenders, having dispensed $52 million to 221,000 clients since 1998. SKS keeps its default rate below 2% by using software that provides real-time data.

Recognitions

  • Time Magazine’s 100 people of the year in 2006.
  • Echoing Green Public Service Entrepreneur Fellowship.

Awards

  • Karmaveer Puraskaar Noble Laureates, March, 2007.

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