In 2017, the Lab is partnering with anti-poverty charity Toynbee Hall to support the best innovations for improving financial health.
We’ve selected 13 Fellows working on projects that have the potential to support financial health, including flexible financing for new parents, an app that uses social gamification to encourage saving, a new financial model for social housing and a community bank for London.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be telling you more about all our Fellows. We’ve already posted a blog about Audrey, Maysam and Andres – read it here, and one about Fionn, Laura and Sam – read it here. This week we’re introducing Nick and Pete…
Say hello to Nick Lee and his project Harmoney
I’m a passionate social entrepreneur focused on helping people to reduce the mental health problems associated with debt.
What is Harmoney?
Banks have little incentive to offer tailored or less costly face-to-face services for lower-income customers. Through Harmoney we will offer debt advice, enabling people to resolve their debts. We’ll also develop a bill and debt management service to help people take practical action to manage their money week by week, as well as plan longer term.
What drove you to start Harmoney?
There is one image that sticks in my mind. I was working as a debt adviser at a Citizens Advice Bureau. A client came in to see us for the first time, and their back was hunched over, tense from the debt they faced. They left with a plan and confidence, and their back was straight.
Why did you apply to be a Lab Fellow?
To get new ideas and get input into and feedback on our model; to gain specialist knowledge on regulation and fintech; to develop partnerships and build relationships.
If you could tell everyone in the world one thing, what would it be?
‘Economics’ should be thought of as a set of tools to help us manage government and business.
Say hello to Pete Sach and his project Testudo
I’ve spent the last ten years zigzagging between academic studies in Anthropology and Urbanism and a professional life engaged with communities and social enterprise.
Learning how cities can be fantastic spaces of production and innovation, whilst also witnessing firsthand the ways in which large scale infrastructure can let people down, has led me here – to develop my own responses to city design and community solutions.
What is Testudo?
Testudo is an off-the-shelf model for a new kind of Tenant Management Organisation (TMO). It employs innovative approaches to building management and technology – enabling tenants to save and communities to flourish.
Testudo provides tenants with a platform for accessing considerably reduced rent, and a liberating ability to transparently and securely save towards mortgage deposits, and eventual home ownership elsewhere.
How can Testudo improve people’s financial health?
I can call on many of my own of bad experiences – emotional and financial – with private landlords. Each and every one of them is testament to me being here. I want to enable more people to easily save for their own home.
Testudo aims to assist those most in need financially within a market most in need – namely, the housing market.
What are your hopes for the Financial Health Fellowship?
A shared appreciation of our goals, and commitment to everybody’s progress through the Fellowship. I applied to be a Lab Fellow in order to access a community of like-minded individuals all wanting to make and impact and successfully improve the financial health of people in the UK and beyond.