Debbie-Watkins
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I realised that there was so much that could be done to improve access to finance for women and small businesses, but no-one was really doing it. And that’s why we launched Lucy!

UK

Debbie Watkins

I had an unprivileged start in life – I grew up in a council housing estate in the UK, and left school at 16 to work at a provincial branch of a high street bank. I became the first woman in the bank manager’s memory to leave the bank for another role (“every other woman that has worked here left to have a baby”) and progressed through increasing levels of seniority in business and financial IT solutions providers until the start of the new millenium – when everything changed. An unexpected redundancy gave me the chance to re-evaluate what I wanted from life, and I took a year out and travelled to Cambodia to do voluntary work.

The destination actually became the starting point. I first founded two award-winning social enterprises that provided jobs for local people, and then started providing technology strategy consulting to micro-finance companies. This evolved into managing large complex inclusive finance projects and global teams, working in 35+ countries – and I realised that there was so much that could be done to improve access to finance for women and small businesses, but no-one was really doing it. And that’s why we launched Lucy!

Artist: Maria Mendozav, from Argentina

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