Vikram Akula, Founder & CEO of SKS Microfinance

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Vikram Akula is on an economic mission: to empower India’s poor.

His drive to fight poverty led to the birth of the Hyderabad-based SKS in 1998. It is a microfinance company that lends small amounts of money, typically $100, to impoverished women.

The cash is used to buy everything from animals to irons so clients can start their own homegrown ventures. SKS started out as non-profit but later changed its status and is now one of the fastest growing microlenders in the world.

With role models like Mohammad Yunus of Grameen Bank, who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for his microfinance work, Akula is in good company. CNN’s Andrew Stevens asked the former management consultant why he made this career choice:

Akula: In my case, I have grown up in the States but born in India so I used to come back here as a child and just would continue to see the very jarring poverty that we have in our country. And for me it was always trying to figure out a way to eradicate that poverty. And that is how I ended up doing microfinance. I have no particular interest in business, no particular interest in finance per say but I just know that this is the right way to get our country and developing countries across the world out of poverty.

Stevens: What’s on your bookshelf? Is it Mahatma Gandhi and the latest management theory?

Akula: Exactly. One of the books of Gandhi’s that I like the best is Satyagraha in South Africa and then I have Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma and I have my set of Harvard Business Review articles. It is a combination of management books and philosophy.

Continue reading “Interview with SKS Founder Vikram Akula

Source: CNN (link opens in a new window)