nonprofit Accion awards the fifth Edward W. Claugus Award to Vijay Mahajan, a leading advocate for financial inclusion and rural development in India, in recognition of his pioneering role in building a financially inclusive world.
“For decades, Vijay Mahajan has been at the forefront of the inclusive finance movement in India, the epicenter of global innovation in this space. As a social entrepreneur and fierce advocate for the needs of the underserved, Vijay has helped millions of low-income families across India receive the high-quality financial services they need to realize their dreams, and he has built institutions that serve as demonstration models throughout the world. We are pleased to recognize his achievements with the Edward W. Claugus Award,” said Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion.
“For over three decades, I have believed that finance can be a force for good. This is what propelled me to establish India’s first commercial microfinance company Basix-BSFL in 1996 and Basix Sub-K — now a leader in digital financial inclusion in India — in 2010. Widening access to financial services is the best way to help the disadvantaged bootstrap themselves up to higher incomes. I am delighted and grateful that Accion has conferred on me the Claugus Award, and I see it as a recognition for the work of all my colleagues in Basix and indeed all others working to build inclusive financial systems in the developing world,” said Vijay.
Vijay’s numerous roles and achievements have had a profound impact on businesses, families, and communities in India. He is the founder of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group, which provides high-quality financial services to the underserved across India. An expert in fighting rural poverty, employment, microfinance, financial inclusion, and social entrepreneurship, Vijay also serves as the Secretary and CEO of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. His former roles include chairing CGAP, a global partnership of more than 30 leading development organizations housed at the World Bank; founding the NGO Pradan; and serving on the Rangarajan Committee on Financial Inclusion as well as the Raghuram Rajan Committee on Financial Sector Reforms. Vijay is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
The Claugus Award is named in honor of Accion benefactor Edward W. Claugus, a skilled investor who was passionate about social change. Claugus realized significant professional success and empathized with the people that Accion serves around the world: the farmers, women, and families who lack the necessary financial tools and services to build better lives. The Claugus Award recognizes leaders who have made important contributions to advancing financial inclusion and represents one portion of Accion’s programs funded thanks to The Edward W. Claugus Fund.
Accion is a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. We catalyze financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of — or poorly served by — the financial sector. For more than 50 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through our work with more than 110 partners in 50 countries.