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A Fistful of Rice

The August IPO of Indian microfinance giant SKS attracted $354 million from investors — and bitter criticism from Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, who told the Associated Press that the offering was “pushing microfinance in a loan-sharking direction.”So it’s not surprising that Vikram Akula’s engaging account of founding SKS is a vigorous defense of what he calls “my unexpected quest to end poverty through profitability.” Turning a not-for-profit making small loans to village women into a commercial venture was, he says, the only way to raise enough capital to make a difference in India, whe

The August IPO of Indian microfinance giant SKS attracted $354 million
from investors — and bitter criticism from Nobel laureate Muhammad
Yunus, who told the Associated Press that the offering was “pushing
microfinance in a loan-sharking direction.”So it’s not surprising that
Vikram Akula’s engaging account of founding SKS is a vigorous defense
of what he calls “my unexpected quest to end poverty through
profitability.” Turning a not-for-profit making small loans to village
women into a commercial venture was, he says, the only way to raise
enough capital to make a difference in India, where 75% of the
population live on less than $2 a day and “poverty is a part of the
landscape, as natural and unchanging as the vast Deccan plains and the
flow of the Ganges River.” — DBM

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Tue, November 09

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A Fistful of Rice

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