3 of 8
BACKNEXT
Muhammad Yunus
Muhammad Yunus
Industry: Economics
Title: Founder
Organization: Grameen Bank

Credit this Bangladeshi financier for essentially revolutionizing the banking systems in many third-world countries with the concept of microfinance. The financing mechanism enables low-income individuals with little-to-no financial resources to start up businesses and other ventures by lending them small amounts of money.

Yunus founded the Bangladesh-based microfinance organization, Grameen Bank, in 1976, and since then, the bank's 2,564 branches have lent over $9 billion to 8.1 million borrowers in over 10,000 villages, 97% of whom are women. In fact, approximately 97% of Bangladeshi villages receive aid through Dr.Yunus' revolutionary brainchild.

In 2006, the Norwegian Nobel Committee selected Yunus to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, and more recently in 2009, President Barack Obama honored Yunus with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

NEXT: Rikin Gandhi
Last updated June 17 2010: 5:11 PM ET
More Galleries
8 CEOs who took a pay cut in 2013 Median CEO pay inched up 9% in 2013 to $13.9 million. But not everyone got a bump last year. Here are eight CEOs who missed out. More
10 best convertibles now that spring has sprung It's finally time to put the top down. Here are our 10 favorite rides for the warmer months to come. More
10 best founding teams The most effective co-founders pair vision with fortitude to launch a business. Here are some of the best examples through the years. More
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.