My name is Rupert Scofield, and I am President and Co-founder of FINCA International. An agricultural economist with 40 years of experience in the developing countries, I co-founded FINCA in 1985 with John Hatch and have served as its President since 1994. In the intervening years, FINCA has grown from 60,000 clients and a loan portfolio of $5 million to a true global presence with more than two million clients across five continents and a loan portfolio of more than $1 billion. I also serve on the board of FINCA Microfinance Holdings, LLC, a first-of-its-kind, socially responsible investment partnership for microfinance.

As a frequent keynote speaker on microfinance and social entrepreneurship, I’m passionate about inspiring the next generation of young leaders who want to solve big problems like world poverty. My book, The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook: How to Start, Build and Run a Business that Improves the World (McGraw-Hill, 2011) tells the story of how we built FINCA, as well as providing practical advice on how to find your passion and build social businesses that change the world.

Prior to FINCA, I was the CEO of Rural Development Services, a consulting firm, and country program director of the AFL-CIO’s Labor Program in El Salvador. I have two Masters of Arts degrees in agricultural economics and public administration from the University of Wisconsin, as well as a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University. In March 2013 I received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Roehampton in the UK. I served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, where I made my first micro loans in the early 1970s.

Born in New York, 1949, I resolved at an early age that I would never work for ‘the man’ and would never, ever, have a career in banking. My accident-prone career has meant of lifetime of dodging revolutions, earthquakes and assassins in the Third World, and once running for my life from a mob in Mogadishu, Somalia. But it has also brought moments of such joy and satisfaction as can only be found in working to help others to gain control over their lives and achieve their financial independence.

Rupert Scofield