Founder and Chairperson Emeritus, Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd.
Hyderabad, India

Vikram Akula is a pioneer in creating market-based solutions for financial inclusion. He started out as a grassroots social worker in India in 1990. In 1997, Vikram founded Bharat Financial Inclusion in India, which has disbursed more than $18 billion in micro-loans to over 10 million low-income women borrowers. In 2006, TIME magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Vikram’s awards include the “Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year” in India (2006) and the EY “Entrepreneur of the Year” in India (start-up in 2006, business transformation in 2009). He is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and an Echoing Green Fellow.

Vikram also founded Vaya Financial Services, which uses tablet-banking to deliver loans to low-income people in India. He is an angel investor in the start-up ArthImpact, which uses an app to provide credit to small entrepreneurs in India and an angel investor in AgSri, which helps small farmers in Africa and India reduce water use. Vikram founded the Bodhi School in India, which provides education for underprivileged children.

He has worked with McKinsey & Company and the Worldwatch Institute and is the author of Micro-Meltdown: The Inside Story of the Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of the World’s Most Valuable Microlender (2018) and A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability (2010). Vikram has a BA from Tufts University, an MA from Yale University, a PhD from the University of Chicago, and was a Fulbright Scholar.

Vikram’s website is