Dragon's Den with a bit of Comic Relief

Two members of the Shared Interest team travelled to London in July to join the internal communications team for a Comic Relief staff conference. The aim of the session was to help discuss the rationale behind social investment versus grant-funding.

Designed a little like TV's Dragon's Den, there was a mock up pitch where Shared Interest's Elisabeth Wilson and Tim Morgan went head to head with other socially responsible organisations.

Business Development Manager Elisabeth Wilson said: "The Comic Relief staff split into three groups of about 15 people and each of them had £250,000 of 'Monopoly money' to award to projects.

"Following the pitches, each group had about five minutes to ask us questions so that they could decide where their 'money' would have greatest impact.

"We were awarded a total of £320,000 and were then invited to describe fully the hypothetical project we were pitching."

Shared Interest's pitch focused on a tea producer who needed additional finance for the purchase of fertilisers to achieve good yields from their plants.

Elisabeth concluded: "It was a great opportunity for us to share skills with other likeminded organisations. Although the situation, and the money awarded, wasn't real, we were very proud of our achievement on the day and learn a lot from the other teams."

Comic Relief's Sian Herschel said: ""It was great for staff from across Comic Relief to understand more about social investment from such an inspiring organisation as Shared Interest. It was particularly brilliant that we fund Shared Interest in reality and so had already supported the tea producer who received £320,000 in 'Monopoly money' with actual money!"