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Our History

From working in education in Zimbabwe and Brac in Bangladesh, inspired by Grameen Bank microfinance, and with help from fellow entrepreneurs – the story of MyBnk starts with our founder Lily Lapenna MBE .

Lily, has a background in international development in Africa and Asia. She saw how a small loan can unleash potential, give way to enterprise, better money skills and self-sufficiency.

Lily returned to London and set about creating a project that would allow young people in the UK to benefit from the same principles. The idea was to use financial services as a practical learning tool, encouraging young people to take the responsibility of helping themselves and the wider community. The central ethos was to get young people involved in all stages of project development and delivery.

Lily met Michael Norton OBE who was the catalyst to make her ideas a reality. Michael has started a wealth of youth led programmes, including the youth led grant scheme YouthBank. Together they created MyBnk.

In 2007 Lily and a group of young people in Tower Hamlets created the first MyBnk-in-a-Box branch. Since then we have reached 175,000 young people in 800 schools and youth organisations. New programmes are being launched and developed, and franchises are going live in the UK and abroad. See latest for more.