Brigham Young University Honors Kushal Chakrabarti with the 2013 Social Innovator of the Year Award
Vittana Founder Takes Center Stage at TEDxBYU
PROVO, Utah, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Vittana Founder and Co-chair Kushal Chakrabarti was selected as 2013 Social Innovator of the Year by The Ballard Center at Brigham Young University (BYU). The Melvin J. Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance at BYU leads the advancement of social innovation through education, research and experimental learning. Vittana is a non-profit who pioneered student microloans in the developing world ensuring access to education and the graduation of a generation beyond poverty.
Kushal Chakrabarti will present at TEDxBYU on March 28th at BYU aiming to spark thought and dialogue among audience members around social innovation. He is also the guest speaker at the Social Innovator of the Year Luncheon on the following day. Chakrabarti launched Vittana in 2009 on the belief that education is the most powerful tool we have to fight global youth poverty. "I'm honored to accept this award on behalf of the Vittana community everywhere — our youth, partners, friends and supporters. BYU is a long-time leader in social entrepreneurship and their recognition of education's power to fight youth poverty means so much to us," Chakrabarti said.
Previously, Kushal ran technology for a $1 billion team at Amazon and is the author of 20+ patents and papers. Kushal was recently named as one of Seattle's Top 40 Under 40 and voted the #1 Game-Changer in Philanthropy by the Huffington Post. He is a frequent speaker on youth poverty, education and social entrepreneurship, including at SOCAP, Pop!Tech and TEDxBrussels. In his free time, he races triathlons, takes pictures and works with dogs. Kushal lives in Seattle with his 1-year-old German Shepherd.
Vittana works to provide access to education for millions of youth struggling to overcome poverty. Vittana pioneered the $750 student microloan in developing countries that combines education's transformative power and microfinance's massive reach. The impact is a 300% increase in income and leaving a life of poverty behind. Today more than 8,000 students in 13 countries have received a Vittana Loan and are repaying at a rate greater than 99%. Capital to fund Vittana loans come from its crowd-funding website, investment funds and strategic partnerships. Vittana's work has been highlighted in the Economist, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, and as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.