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A Fistful of Rice | by Harvard Business Review
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A Fistful of Rice

A Fistful of Rice: An Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability

 

Author: Vikram Akula

 

Publication Date: November 9th, 2010

 

Description: Around the globe, poverty has held too many people in its grip for too long. While microfinance - small loans to impoverished individuals - initially attracted attention in the press, it didn't achieve the scale, scope, and profitability necessary to substantially combat poverty. All that changed with Vikram Akula's creation of SKS Microfinance.

 

In this highly personal narrative, A Fistful of Rice, Akula reveals how he pieced together the best of both philanthropy and (to his surprise) capitalism to help millions of India's poor transition from paupers to customers to business owners.

 

As thoughtful as Barack Obama's personal journey in Dreams from My Father, as harrowing as Paul Farmer's battle against infectious disease in Mountains Beyond Mountains, and as gripping as Greg Mortensen's fight for education in Three Cups of Tea, Akula's story shows how traditional business principles can be brought to bear on global problems in new ways.

 

A Fistful of Rice offers not only inspiration but also lessons for anyone seeking to transform tenacity, creativity, and innovation into potent tools for fighting even the most seemingly intractable human burdens.

 

Author Bio:

Vikram Akula is the founder and chair of SKS Microfinance. In 2006, Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people. He has received several awards, including the World Economic Young Global Leader (2008), the Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year in India (2006), and the Ernst & Young Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year in India (2006). He has been profiled in media ranging from CNN to the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

 

Contact: publicity@hbr.org

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Taken on June 15, 2010