Alistair Grimes proves the old saying 'If you have no idea where you are going, any road will take you there'. After studying all the wrong things at university, his first job was in 1979 on a Government job creation programme working for Age Concern in Scotland. After that he worked in local government (social work) and the voluntary sector before starting to understand something about money by becoming Funding Controller of a social enterprise, the Wise Group in 1988, and building it from a £4.5 million company to a £14.5 million company in nine years. He then became Chief Executive of Community Enterprise in Strathclyde, supporting over 60 social enterprises a year, and taking over Developing Strathclyde, a community development finance organisation. CDFI meeting the financial needs of social enterprises and small local businesses. In 2005 he joined the consultancy Rocket Science, specialising in financial inclusion, employability, social enterprise and urban regeneration.
At various times he has been an expert adviser to the European Commission, chair of the Scottish Credit Union Partnership, chair of the Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum, on the Board of Communities Scotland and a member of the McFadden Commission to reform charity law in Scotland. For seven years he was on the BIG Lottery Committee for Scotland (which meant he had to stand and hold ridiculous objects at photo shoots for successful applicants) and he is currently chair of the Yorkshire based Key Fund which invests in social enterprises across the north of England.
In real life he is married with a daughter who relentlessly mocks his dress sense, drawing ability, singing voice and his inability to remember what is going on in Coronation Street.