Lily Lapenna, 31, founder and chief executive officer of MyBnk, a London-based education charity which works with young people on financial and enterprise education, has been named Young Global Leader 2011 by the World Economic Forum “in recognition of her commitment to shaping the global future”.
The award recognizes the most distinguished young leaders from all over the world below the age of 40. The Selection Committee, chaired by Queen Rania of Jordan, selected Lapenna after having carefully examined the profiles of thousands of young leaders from around the world and from varying sectors. 197 young leaders from 72 countries, from the world of business, civil society, politics, arts and the media were chosen in total. Lapenna is one of only five UK winners and one of four Italians to be awarded.
Receiving the prestigious award Ms. Lapenna said: “This is an incredible honour, I am in total disbelief. Encouraging enterprise and having a financially literate society has never been so important. While our generation works longer for lower pensions and incurring more debt – the next face high tuition fees and a shrinking job market, they can’t afford to learn about money the hard way. By forging a generational shift in attitudes to money we can break the debt cycle, build a new enterprise economy and avoid the mistakes of the past”.
The UK winners now join the Forum of Young Global Leaders, forming a unique global network of peers from diverse backgrounds and fields, with a highly visible opportunity to impact world affairs and shape the global agenda. Ms. Lapenna will attend a World Economic Forum in China in September.
You can read the interview we had with Lily Lapenna last January by clicking on the following link: http://www.vita.it/news/view/109555.
MyBnk, founded in 2007, is UK’s first ever independent, peer-led, youth banking scheme approved by the national banking regulatory body (Financial Services Authority-FSA). The charity gives young people interest-free loans of up to £100 to set up enterprising activities in London’s poorest areas.
MyBnk were inspired by the experience that Ms. Lapenna had in Bangladesh, where she came into contact with the great potential of microfinance as an educational tool.
In three years MyBnk has reached nearly 30,000 youngsters, giving them the financial skills, knowledge and confidence to effectively manage their money and to make enterprising decisions throughout their lives. The charity is now expanding in the UK using a social franchise model and is also looking at a more open sourced international model to reach other countries.
Lily Lapenna is an Italian brought up in London. She has always been interested in poverty alleviation and social change. At the age of 18 she left for Zimbabwe where she worked for two years as youth worker and peer educator. Back to the UK she pursued a degree in Development Studies and African Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She also spent a year at the Oriental Institute, Naples, on an Erasmus Scholarship. Just after her degree she went to Bangladesh and worked for BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), a development NGO. The women she met in Bangladesh inspired her to found MyBnk: although they were illiterate, through the microfinance loans and saving schemes they were leaning incredible skills and knowledges. At the end of March 2011 Lapenna has been inducted into the Ashoka Fellowship. Ashoka is the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs.