Dr Yvonne Gale, Chief Executive Officer, NEL Fund Managers
Achieving Inclusive Growth CPD workshop
Dr Yvonne Gale is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at NEL Fund Managers, which provides tailored funding solutions to small and medium-sized businesses across the North East of England. She took over as CEO of the investor specialising in economic development through entrepreneurialism in 2015, having steadily worked her way up the company since joining NEL in 2002. In May 2018, Dr Gale attended the IED’s Achieving Inclusive Growth CPD workshop.
We pride ourselves on growing local economies by investing in ambitious local businesses, and whilst I was already aware of the emergent discussions on inclusive growth, it is a new field and there are currently few routes to learning more,” Dr Gale explained. “The IED seem to be the only organisation providing workshops on this subject. I’m a keen reader and supporter of the views of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on inclusive growth. My objective was to broaden my understanding of the issue and to understand how others see this evolving and so formulate a view on where NEL could contribute.”
Dr Gale said she was “amazed by the variety of people in the room, both in the roles they did and the types of organisations they worked for” and that her learning objectives were met. “It was a real coming together of views and exchange of information,” she revealed. “Atkins Economics delivered a great case study on how a waste management problem that didn’t fit easily into an existing set of solutions was resolved through a creative collaboration with strong social impact. Another attendee recommended an excellent podcast by Centre for Cities that I’ve been listening to since to build on the knowledge gained at the workshop. I also recommended a third sector organisation to another attendee who was looking to build an action team to address inclusive growth in their local area.”
Having experienced the workshop at first-hand, Dr Gale said that she would recommend the IED’s CPD provision to colleagues in the profession. “Inclusive growth is an emergent field and as economic development professionals we all need to be part of creating the future and need knowledge to do so,” she reflected. “Attending would also provide access to a network of others from around the UK pursuing this objective enabling people to continue to share knowledge after the event. Since the workshop I’ve discussed the content with my colleagues and with fellow economic development professionals. The workshop’s key impact for me was in laying down strong principles rather than ready-made solutions, and these foundations of knowledge are working their way into our thinking.”
NEL has subsequently published its own thought leadership on the issue (http://www.nel.co.uk/investing-for-inclusive-growth) to “spread the word and encourage others to consider inclusive growth”. Dr Gale added: “Our own network shares a commitment to access to finance so the insight piece takes the workshop and contextualises it for our network and focuses on what that means in access to finance for growing small businesses.”