LEP appoints rural and small business champions to the board

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has appointed two new non-executive directors to its board.

They are farmer and agri-food specialist Clare Parnell from St Minver near Wadebridge, and Louis Mathers who is the co-founder of Cornwall-based peer-to-peer business lender FOLK2FOLK and a property solicitor.

Both join the LEP board with immediate effect. Clare will be taking on the role of rural lead on the board, while Louis will be small business lead.

LEP Chair Mark Duddridge said: “Clare and Louis bring considerable strengths to the LEP board and both are passionate about rural affairs. Clare has long championed the agri-food sector and land-based industries in Cornwall, managing a number of trade organisations and a farm visitor centre while being an active partner of a beef and sheep farm for more than 25 years.

“Louis’ experience spans a range of sectors including rural land, agriculture, renewables, retail and leisure. With FOLK2FOLK he has helped establish one of the UK’s leading national rural lenders, supporting small business growth across the country with £270m of loans to date.

“We are fortunate to be adding such a wealth of experience to our board and I very much look forward to working with Clare and Louis.”

Commenting on her appointment Clare said: “I am delighted to be part of the CIoS LEP and hope I can contribute to its vision that by 2030 Cornwall & Isles of Scilly will be the place where business thrives and people enjoy an outstanding quality of life. With 30% of the working age population in our area being employed in agri-food and food retail we must improve the productivity and profitability of that sector if we are to achieve the vision. This is where I hope I can make a difference.”

Commenting on his appointment Louis added: “I look forward to playing my part in furthering the economic interests of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. I am passionate about the region but also for small businesses that operate here.  I have a deep understanding of the challenges small businesses face and I welcome this opportunity to represent them on the LEP Board.”

The LEP is business-led and its role is to drive economic growth and job creation across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It does this by helping to create the conditions in which people and businesses can prosper.

Its 19-strong board includes 15 representatives from the world of business, education and social enterprise, and four local authority members drawn from Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

Since 2011 the LEP has helped secure over £450 million of public and private investment in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Image and article first appeared: Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, January 29th 2019. 

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