Vikram Akula Focuses on Assisting Individuals in Need
Vikram Akula has worked to improve the lives of India's indigent population for much of his life. As the founder and chairman emeritus of SKS Microfinance Ltd., Mr. Akula and his company extended micro-credit to millions of women across India, enabling them to purchase livestock, establish small businesses, and ultimately provide for themselves and their families. Although Vikram Akula launched SKS (Swayam Krishi Sangam or “self-help society”) as a nonprofit group, he developed the organization with the intention of converting it into a for-profit venture, recognizing that a nonprofit model would not allow SKS to grow to the scale necessary to help the tens of millions of individuals in India in need of microfinance services.
Vikram Akula established SKS after years of advocating for women in need in India, starting as a community organizer with the Deccan Development Society in 1990. He then worked on behalf of those who were underserved in a more general sense as a researcher with the World Watch Institute, where he wrote articles on poverty and development. In 1995, Mr. Akula returned to India as a Fulbright Scholar for an action-research project. With funding provided by the Indian government, he was able to establish a program that offered microloans to farmers for the purpose of providing food security.
Currently, Vikram Akula is a board member with the Bodhi Educational Society. He supports the organization’s efforts to empower Indians living in difficult circumstances through education. Mr. Akula wrote the book A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability, which was published by Harvard Business Review Press in 2010.