World travel broadens the mind, so they say. And the experience really made a difference to Lily Lapenna who created a payday loan firm with a difference five years ago, derived from her experience working for a non-governmental organisation in Bangladesh.
Lily, of Italian parentage, London upbringing and French tuition hit upon the idea of teaching children from a very early age about the strength of making small investments work to reach a desired platform – by lending them small business loans with real money in order that they could see their seedling ideas blossom, once they secured the loan from Lapenna’s finance institute, MyBnk. Obviuosly, there is little use of a credit check for some children in the target bracket, which is why it is the strength of the idea and the team’s conviction that will secure them the finance.
To run in conjunction with that stage of the process, which has to meet other certain criteria from the group of 11-25 year olds before they are accepted for any loan just like in the real world, Mybnk also hosts money workshops, which will hopefully create the pint pot entrepreneurs a strong series of their own paydays in the future.
Micro-finance has a massive bearing on projects in Bangladesh, where every tiny piece of money is managed and made to work within the system. Many consumers in the UK who are in financial hardship and struggling with credit cards and regularly relying upon short term loans to get them from one payday to the next would do well to incorporate this type of management into their household budget.
It is this concept, but in a business project sense, that Lily Lapenna and MyBnk is trying to indoctrinate youngsters with to help them avoid the pitfalls that those who now rely on short term loans and high APR credit have fell into. And, of course, learning the importance of how money affects all levels of a business, no matter how big or small.
However, Lily recognises the importance of coaching – not running or administering – a business, as finance issues can just seem extremely boring to children fresh out of primary school. To meet the lending criteria, the business idea has to meet reality and relativity objectives so that the learning curve the children will go through will help them retain focus throughout the longevity of the project. To enhance that possibility it is usual that an element of competition is injected with every loan – such as: this is your slice of the pie, the same as theirs; your slice has got to end up bigger than that one.
To date, 500 loans of between £10 – £300 have been issued in this manner, all against a deadline for project fruition. The accompanying financial awareness program, covering student debt to acquiring mortgages, has reached over 37,000 children and Lily wants to now take this further and plans to franchise the set up across the UK before taking on the world.
With so many people reportedly taking to short term loans over the course of this year, that roll out can’t come quickly enough.