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Worldwide Locations

Profit Motive in Microfinance: A Debate




A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability by Vikram Akula. (Harvard Business Press, 2010)

A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability by Vikram Akula. (Harvard Business Press, 2010)

Is the creation of a large, for-profit enterprise the best way to take the benefits of microfinance to the millions of poor people who need it?

SKS, the largest microfinance company in India, successfully went public this summer, becoming the second such business to do so. Is the creation of a large, publicly owned and profit-making enterprise the best—or the only—way to take the benefits of microfinance to the millions of poor people who really need it? Are such businesses more or less likely to maximize public good by giving vital and affordable financial services to those currently living outside the retail banking system?

Asia Society invites you to attend an event that tackles the subject of microfinancing and its impact on the world. Vikram Akula, author of A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability, and who answered the question in the affirmative, will speak with Alex Counts, President and CEO of Grameen Foundation and author of Small Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Microfinance are Changing the World.

Join the discussion: Profit margins in micro-lending should be limited—Do you agree or disagree?