Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tywcross Zoo explored!

How unbelievable! Dining with the snow leopards. Not literally obviously but the splendid visitor centre and conference room where SIB were dining backs onto the snow leopard enclosure. There are only some 30 of these left in the world so the breeding programme here is essential. Indeed the chap you see here has 2 cubs! (Photo courtesy of Seb Elsworth ; on the iphone beats a blackberry on photos I find! )

The SIB away day was fascinating. What was revealing is that we have recently surveyed our investees and potential clients in terms of what. Appetite there is for loan finance and what plans they have to expand

188 organisations said they want to access loan finance to the tune of £343m. Yet there is practically no source of loan finance for them. Big unmet demand.

It really is time for the Cabinet Office and BIS to tackle this as part of a growth strategy. Whilst we have big society capital it is not yet in the position to make loans at this level. It has only just goi started on it investment strategy and we ought to be looking at how to plug the gap.

Obviously key to the discussions at our awayday was how we continue to invest in the growth of the third sector and in community enterprise. We celebrate 10 years of the Adventure Capital fund- the founding charity of the SIB group. We know there is appetite for loans and that an " engaged investor" approach works.

We were looking at how we lever more funds into the sector- for instance into youth unemployment work or health and social care integration.

But efficient chairmanship ensured we ended in time for a quick trip round the Zoo. A fantastic place. You must visit!

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