It is with great pleasure that I introduce Bristol & Bath Regional Capital CIC. We are at the starting line for what promises to be an exciting, innovative and worthwhile journey of discovery.
Firstly, I want to thank a number of people and organisations who have donated their time and resources in order to get us to this point. The Society of Merchant Venturers has shown particular imagination in helping the foundation of our enterprise, as have Bristol City Council in their direct support and in their sponsorship, with John Pontin, of the Bristol Bond project whose insights and enthusiasm are incorporated in this initiative. Business West representing the private sector and all four local universities have also offered invaluable support and expertise, and as chair of Voscur I particularly welcome the support of many third sector groups who have joined with us in membership and supported our research. This institutional support has been matched by an outpouring of enthusiasm and help from individuals too numerous to mention but without whose support and encouragement we would not have got to the launch of this initiative.
The reason this diverse group of local stakeholders have come together is clear. We are pioneering an approach to improving our local social infrastructure and resilience with a simple but compelling idea. Our mission is to help local projects that offer a social as well as commercial return to get off the ground by helping them find sources of finance where they would otherwise struggle. In doing this we want to attract external finance, but we also want to help local citizens be one of those sources of finance, enriching the citizen’s stake in their communities. With local investors supporting local projects, and in many cases also becoming the customers of those projects, everyone gains from this virtuous cycle.