Catch up with Craig Campbell

Catch up with Craig Campbell

June 2011

 

What will be your new role with the Homeless World Cup?

 

To work with Mel Young and his team at the Homeless World Cup. To help run their annual tournament but also to establish a deeper infrastructure around international social investment, social enterprise creation and helping create new ideas in Scotland that can then be exported around the world.

 

 

That`s a big jump from a banking career. What prompted you?

 

I am a firm believer that you create your own destiny. And, in doing so, opportunities emerge. It is then up to you to decide whether to take them on. Up until 1999 I was on a standard banking career and then I went on a 2 year secondment to CBI Scotland. That was the first juncture that led to a change of direction. Firstly into Social Banking, then Community Banking, a brief foray into UK Charity Market Segmentation and then into my current role as Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland, an organization that I helped found and fund whilst with Bank of Scotland.

 

Having made the switch in direction and then the crucial decision to leave the relative security blanket of a longish career in banking it was a fairly easy decision to make to take Mel up on his offer of the role as CEO at the Homeless World Cup. Each role builds on the last one and the challenge of moving into an environment that isn’t led purely by financial investment decisioning and that gives me the chance to work directly with the end user of any investment – directly involved in the social impact – was something that I would have regretted if I hadn’t taken it on. The allure of football as the principal medium through which much of this is delivered was equally seductive. Even for a Hibs fan!

 

I am looking forward to this fresh challenge immensely and hope to continue working with many of the people and organisations that I have built a relationship with at SIS in doing so.

 

 

What do you think have been you main achievements in your 27 months with SIS?

 

It has been a period of significant change over my 27 months at Social Investment Scotland. But one that I hope many of you will have witnessed a fresh outlook in how SIS operates and interacts within this growing sector in Scotland. One that has seen SIS grow to become a sustainable, pro-active and helpful organisation. One that is now led by a culture of high customer service and a real desire to build strong, enduring relationships with individuals and organisations. 

 

Of course we do not get it right every time. And there are things that looking back I might have done differently. But I like to think that I have enabled SIS to become a key, innovative player in the UK social investment world and one whose views and ideas are sought by a range of stakeholders. It is now the largest independent CDFI investor in the UK with a portfolio of some £33m spread across 120 organisations from Shetland to Stranraer. Further work is at an advanced stage to introduce additional capital and I would expect SIS to be a likely recipient of wholesale capital whenever the Big Society Bank launches. It is not outwith the realms of possibility for the SIS portfolio to be at around £50m in the next 2 years. That means ever greater investment into Scotland’s third sector. Which is why SIS exists.

 

 

In your view, what lies ahead for the social investment sector in Scotland?

 

The one major change I think needs to take place is the switch away from reliance on capital from government and for the private, individual and charitable sector to move in and fill the gap. Social investment is here to stay but it needs capital supply to continue to meet the growing demand. But that will not change overnight. It will take years for social investment to become a true asset class. But this phase can be accelerated by government moving into the role of guarantor to enable new suppliers of capital to move in with their capital protected. This will allow these new investors to learn about the risks involved, which investments work (and which do not) and in time enable them to invest directly without the government as underwriter. Foundations, trusts and other organisations such as BIG can also help lever in new sources of capital alongside their grant programmes so that loan and grant investment can be made through one single fund. The Scottish Investment Fund has shown that this can be hugely successful and if loan and grant providers can create a single entry point then that eases workload for hard pressed applicants. The potential for this to happen is high and I hope to see this kind of creative, partnership working evolve in the next 12 months in Scotland.

 

 

Do you have a message for Senscot bulletin readers?

 

I wish you all well in your quests to maximize on the social impacts that all of you strive for to make Scotland a more equal, sharing and understanding society. All of you who work in this sector will know the “bug” that takes hold and will understand the reasons why I would never consider a return to corporate banking where I am funding widgets as opposed to investing in people’s lives. 

 

I look forward to seeing many of you from time to time in my new role at HWC. Don’t be a stranger. From end August you can reach me at craig@homelessworldcup.org or on my usual mobile number.