SKS CEO and Founder, Vikram Akula, recognized by Time Magazine as one of today's 100 most influential people 

November 27, 2006
Vikram Akula is the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 in India
New Delhi, INDIA � Vikram Akula, Founder and CEO of SKS Microfinance Private Limited, has been named the India Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance and President of the India National Congress, presented the award to Vikram during the World Economic Forum�s India Economic Summit. Vikram said, "This award is an affirmation of the entrepreneurial spirit of the poor women working across India."
Sonia Gandhi presents Vikram with the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award
SKS Microfinance, based in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, applies global business practices to the field of microfinance. Known as the �Starbucks of Microfinance�, SKS standardizes microfinance processes and uses technology to accelerate growth. Indeed, SKS was the fastest growing microfinance institution from 1998 to 2004 with a 165% annual growth rate. SKS has lent over $100 Million (Rs. 500 crores) in income-generating loans to approximately 400,000 families in impoverished regions of 11 states of India. In the last year alone, SKS achieved 125% growth while maintaining a 98% on-time repayment rate. Their loan members improve their economic well-being by 11% yearly − often breaking the cycle of poverty within three years.

Vikram was born in Hyderabad and grew up in the United States. He witnessed poverty on numerous family visits to India and made a promise to himself to eradicate it. In 2006, Vikram was named by TIME Magazine as one of the world�s 100 most influential people.

SKS was selected because, 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 management information system.

The Schwab Foundation and the Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), worked together on the selection and award process. An eminent jury including representatives of the partners as well as Anu Aga of Thermax Ltd, Ashok Khosla of Development Alternatives, Byrraju Raju of Satyam Computer Services and Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express selected the Social Entrepreneur of the Year in India.

The other three finalists were:

Amitabha Sadangi is the CEO of International Development Enterprises India (IDEI) based in New Delhi. Since 1992, IDEI has developed and marketed affordable micro-irrigation technologies to 800,000 marginal and small farmers of India. The irrigation technologies have vastly improved their agricultural productivity, strengthened their food security bases and integrated them into rural markets. This often lifts the user out of poverty by raising income by 33 to 50%.

Padmanabha and Rama Rao are the co-directors and co-founders of Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources (RIVER) based in Madanpalli, Andhra Pradesh. RIVER has developed a multigrade, multi-level (MGML) methodology that turns the many problems of rural education into advantages. RIVER has worked with the government to adopt the MGML methodology in more than 25,000 schools and provides quality education to 7.5 million children.

S. Rajagopalan and Svati Bhogle are the chairman and CEO respectively of Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE) based in Bangalore. TIDE identifies economically rewarding, environment-friendly technologies and adopts them to be sold by rural entrepreneurs to demonstrate the local economic benefit of technology use and overcome socio-cultural obstacles. This has led to improved livelihoods for 15,000 individuals and the conservation of 150,000 tonnes of natural resources.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship was started by Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, and his wife, Hilde. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has been searching for the world�s leading social entrepreneurs, who implement innovative and pragmatic solutions to social problems by tackling the root causes and creating a social transformation. The current network of the Foundation spans 105 social entrepreneurs and their organizations from more than 40 countries. A recent evaluation study showed that the budgets and the number of beneficiaries reached of the selected social entrepreneurs grew three times faster while part of the network. In one year alone, the Schwab social entrepreneurs raised close to US$ 80 million as a direct result of the contacts and opportunities offered by the Foundation.

Further information on the social entrepreneurs can be found at

For further information, please contact: [email protected]



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