I specialise in bridging the two worlds of charities, voluntary sector and community organisations on the one hand and financial services and management on the other, through social investment and social finance experience and expertise.
I have worked in social finance for about twenty years, starting in grassroots microfinance in the developing world. I was first Chair of the UK Community Development Finance Association and produced much of their technical and training materials. I gained experience in raising capital and deposits and managing lenders and a loan portfolio, working as Charity Bank's Regional Manager in Northern Ireland. I also designed, fund-raised for and commissioned the first accredited Investment Readiness Programme in the UK which was designed specifically for charity chief executives and senior managers.
I have now been commissioned by The Local Trust to support social investment and local economics in Big Local, working across 150 local areas in England. I worked with IVAR on a social investment research project for the Charity Commission (England and Wales). I am working with Dr Brendan Murtagh of Queen's University Belfast on a research project on social enterprise policy and practice for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland. I am a country expert on social enterprise for GHK Consulting as they map social enterprises and their eco-systems in Europe on behalf of the European Commission.
My goals are two-fold: to wake up in the morning and go to work feeling that, in some small way, I am helping to bring about progressive social change and to enjoy my life while doing itt.
Specialties: Social investment policy and practice, social enterprise start-up, financial exclusion, third sector financial analysis, social impact research, third sector evaluation, community-based economic development.
Bending the social enterprise model to attract mainstream investors isn't the answer to entrepreneur James Perry's stressful funding challenges. But creating another type of organisation might be, suggests a Pioneers Post reader.