Financial Health Fellowship

Incubating the next generation of changemakers in finance.

Lab Fellowship is a six-month programme developing the leadership capacity and business skills of innovators building a new financial system – one that works for people and planet.

Financial Health Fellowship 2017

In 2017, the Lab partnered with anti-poverty charity Toynbee Hall to support the best innovations for improving financial health.

Running from May to November 2017, Fellows benefitted from monthly business strategy sessions, peer coaching, mentoring, specialist workshops and two residential leadership retreats. Unlike intensive classroom-based incubators, the Fellowship programme is focussed on action learning, community development and collaborative leadership. The sessions built Fellows’ knowledge of the causes of financial ill-health and confidence in dealing with the wider financial system. Find out more about the programme structure here, or read our FAQs.

Financial Health Fellows

We selected 13 Fellows working on projects that have the potential to support financial health, including flexible financing to support new parents, an app that uses social gamification to encourage saving, a new financial model for social housing and a community bank for London. Meet the Fellows here. 

Why financial health?

1.7 million adults remain unbanked in Britain today. Only 41% of British households are saving, while 12 million people lack access to affordable credit. Financial exclusion damages mental and physical health, undermines social relationships and can affect households’ ability to fulfil basic needs such as food and heating.

Current approaches to tackling these issues often result in products designed from the top down, with a focus on providing access to products that don’t work for the reality of many people’s lives. We supported innovations that work from the bottom up, with a focus on what people need and want, and an understanding of the wider factors that drive financial ill-health. Read our blog to find out more about our understanding of financial health and opportunities for innovation.

Our Advisory Group

Our expert Advisory Group supported the Fellows with project guidance, helped shape the programme’s policy engagement work, and championed the programme.

Our Supporters

We are extremely grateful to our supporters – University of Cumbria, Chartered Banker Institute, Friends Provident Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust and NatWest.

Our Mentors

We profiled the development needs of each of our Fellows carefully and matched them to a mentor who helped them address key business and personal development challenges. Read about our mentors, who bring a wealth of skills and experience from a variety of sectors, including fintech, social investment, policy, academic and systems change, here.

Our External Evaluator

Damon Gibbons (Director, Centre for Responsible Credit) was appointed as the programme’s External Evaluator. You can read his Rapid Assessment of the programme He will produce a final report on the effectiveness of the programme to support Fellows and deliver wider impact in Spring 2018.

Lab Fellowship 2016

In 2016, we supported 16 Fellows working on financial innovation that put people and planet first. Read what they thought of the programme here.

Interested in becoming a Fellow?

Register your interest by emailing, and we will let you know when new Fellowship opportunities arise. Please note that

  • the theme of Lab Fellowship may change
  • the programme is designed for start-up businesses, but we also welcome applications from later-stage innovators facing significant change and innovators within existing financial organisations who want to repurpose a product or service
  • Fellows are asked to contribute to the cost of the programme according to their ability to pay.
“Being part of a community has really been invaluable for me over the past 6 months. It has been a safe environment to share challenges, create common solutions where other fellows may have faced similar hurdles. It has allowed a new side of me to grow around entrepreneurship.”
- 2016 Fellow

Find out more:

Meet the Fellows

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Advisory Group

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Our Supporters

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