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Lily Lapenna MBE

Lily Lapenna MBE is the founder and Chair of Trustees of the UK financial and enterprise education charity MyBnk.

In 2017, she was honoured in the Queens Birthday List for services to Young People and Financial Services. Lily was also appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011, selected as an Ashoka fellow in 2010, and named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the New Statesman in 2008. In 2016 she left her Co-CEO role to become Co-Chair of Trustees.

Her programmes continue to win awards for excellence in financial capability and enterprise – most recently by The GuardianCentre for Social Justice, Children & Young People Now magazineProject OracleThe Observer and Nesta.

Together with the MyBnk team, Lily has created a series of learning experiences that range from money management workshops for primary school pupils to debt intervention schemes for vulnerable young people leaving the care system.

Since 2007, Lily has took MyBnk from a single pilot project to an organisation reaching over 175,000 young people in 800 schools and youth organisations. MyBnk’s work has been expanded across England and internationally to Italy, Africa and beyond.

As a speaker she has passionately made the case for social enterprise, financial and enterprise education and women in leadership. She has shared her experiences at The World Economic Forum in Davos and in Brussels as well as speaking at academic institutions including: the London Business School, The University of Oxford, the Cass Business School (London), IESE Business School (Barcelona)

Lily has mentored and guided the start-up and operations of other Social Enterprises, such as Foodcycle UK.

She also sits on the Board of Trustees for the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action and has not lost her passion for international development and hands-on action.

A 2003 graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies London, with a degree in Development Studies and African Studies, Lily also spent a year at the Oriental Institute, Naples, on an Erasmus Scholarship. She began her career in international development in Africa and Asia, focusing on the empowerment and participation of young people through non-formal education.

Whilst in Bangladesh, Lily became aware of the positive impact of micro-finance and saving services. She saw how a small loan can unleash potential, and give way to entrepreneurial ideas and lead to self sufficiency and this inspired her to set up MyBnk.