Because Bento offers an FDIC-insured banking service, our customers have to have a presence in the United States. That doesn’t mean our customers are limited to North America. Some of them have a global presence, like Liger Leadership Academy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
What is the Liger Leadership Academy?
The Liger Charitable Foundation is a U.S. charity founded on July 24, 2009, by Trevor and Agnieszka Gile. He is a securities trader, she is an entrepreneur, and both had come to love Cambodia. They began a school to create a new generation of leaders for the country. Liger Leadership Academy, the Foundation’s pilot program, develops entrepreneurial and empathetic graduates who have the ability, passion, and commitment to improving not only their own lives but the lives of their fellow Cambodians as well as communities in Asia and globally.
Students live on a residential campus that offers full, six-to-eight year scholarships for economically disadvantaged students. The first cohort of students began in the Fall of 2012 and is scheduled to graduate in June of this year. Nine of the students were offered early acceptance to universities in the United States (including Princeton, Northwestern, Barnard, Syracuse, and Bucknell) with full financial aid.
How does Liger Leadership Academy use Bento?
Although the campus is in Cambodia, Liger is incorporated in the U.S. and is partly governed from London and New Zealand. Because Bento operates on the Visa platform, the cards are accepted everywhere. Among the uses for the cards are paying for standardized testing and applications to U.S. universities, purchasing software for students and administrators, and covering costs of travel. “We can manage online the limits of how much can be spent each day on each card and easily track where and how money is spent,” says Martin Timmins, Liger’s Treasurer.
How is Liger Leadership Academy Funded?
Funding to date has been provided by the Giles, but now that the first cohort is graduating and the educational model has been proven, Liger is searching for external investors to support the Liger Leadership Academy in Cambodia and possible expansion into other locations. Of course, it’s all slowed down by COVID-19. Liger Leadership Academy has had to close its physical doors. Each student was sent home with an internet booster and laptop in order to access teachers, classes, and fellow students from their homes.
Whether our customers are operating on a small-town Main Street or on the other side of the world, they are making a difference in their communities. We’re happy that we can be a part of it.