Shared Interest has appointed a new Head of Foundation to lead its charitable arm of the business.
Chris Pay is taking the helm of Shared Interest Foundation as the charity reaches a crucial point in its three-year international development programme in Swaziland funded with a grant from Comic Relief.
The charity was established in 2004 after Shared Interest identified a skills gap in overseas businesses approaching them for finance.
Newcastle-based Shared Interest Society has three international offices and lends money to fair trade businesses in the developing world using funds invested by people living in the UK. The social lender recognised that some businesses need more practical help before being suitable for financial support. Shared Interest Foundation was set up to offer the education, funding and training needed to help workers achieve fair pay and conditions.
Chris said: “I am thrilled to be joining Shared Interest Foundation during its vital work in Swaziland that will touch the lives of over 3,000 people.
“With help from organisations on the ground, we aim to train over 130 handicraft businesses and double the income of their workers as we did during a similar project in Rwanda.”
Chris has a combination of business training and international development experience. He joins Shared Interest from Business and Enterprise Group where he was involved in key projects such as Business Link.
Prior to this, he worked with organisations such as Oxfam and Christian Aid within his role developing best practice with BOND, the UK membership body for non-governmental organisations. Earlier in his career Chris worked in the Philippines, Tanzania, Zambia and Bangladesh, offering business training and support on behalf of Traidcraft. He kicks off his position at Shared Interest Foundation with a trip to Swaziland to see the progress made since the start of the charity’s development project two years ago.
Chris continued: “I have always been fascinated by the power business can have on creating positive developments in society. It is all about harnessing what is good in business and sharing this knowledge with other parts of the world that may not have access to the opportunities we have here in the UK.
“Shared Interest Foundation is changing hundreds of lives and entire communities and I am looking forward to bringing its message home to a new audience. Imagine working in an office where over a third of your workforce has HIV; that is just one of the challenges facing Swazi businesses today.
“By encouraging entrepreneurialism in Swaziland as we do in our own country, we can help people reach their true potential and earn the fair living that everyone deserves.”