Finance: Pilotlight looks north of border

A London charity that recruits business experts to do pro bono consultancy work for voluntary sector groups is planning to set up a branch in Scotland.

Pilotlight has tapped the skills of 220 business leaders since its launch in London three years ago. It has a base of corporate members that includes the likes of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, KPMG and Coutts.

Last week, Pilotlight announced plans to establish an office in Scotland by August 2007, and aims to be working with 25 Scottish charities within two years. The Big Lottery Fund has promised to donate half of the £260,000 cost of the project, if Pilotlight can raise the other half.

According to figures from the SCVO, Scotland has about 50,000 voluntary organisations, which account for 1.2 per cent of the Scottish economy's annual turnover.

Deborah Green, development director at Pilotlight, said research had shown that charities in the region wanting to build capacity had a "definite need" for specialist help and advice.

"We are in conversation with potential Scottish members to find out if the market in Scotland is big enough to sustain a Pilotlight," said Green, who is assessing the feasibility of such a project. "What we do is very specialised, so we need a certain size of charity and business community to sustain it."

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