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Adrian Ashton

Firm: Adrian Ashton
Country: United Kingdom - England

Practice Area: Business Advisory

  • 6 White Hart Fold
    OL14 7BD
After reading business in Cambridge, I worked with one of the top 100 PR consultancies in the UK before taking on various management roles within a wide variety of social enterprises, community organisations and more ‘traditional’ enterprise support bodies.

These experiences enabled me to ‘turn around’ an ailing specialist social enterprise support agency into a nationally recognised body and gained me recognition as an authority on social enterprises from local, regional and national organisations.

Subsequently, I have supported national government policy enterprise initiatives including the NHS’ Right to Request, Cabinet Office’s Pathfinder Mutuals programme, and the Ministry of Justice’s drive to engage more social enterprises into rehabilitation supply chains. I have also worked with several universities and sector bodies to research emerging market and industry trends to inform policy and the creation of new support programmes.

I also work thematically across different sectors and industries to deliver activity and support relating to:

Having managed and grown a local enterprise loan scheme for several years, I have been commissioned to train enterprise advisers on how they can best support their clients apply for finance. I support the delivery of the national Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Businesses growth initiative, as a specialist speaker on alternative finance; deliver an accredited on-line course in financial management; and am an approved provider within national enterprise support programmes to develop enterprises be better ready to take on future investment. Recently I have been asked to research the realities of social investment from rural and ethical perspectives to help social investors better review and redesign their respective loan products.

Having undertaken unparalleled research into the training needs, barriers, and preferences for enterprises in all sectors, I am regularly invited to deliver guest training sessions and workshops within university degree courses, as well as funded business growth programmes.
I also track the impact of skills training I deliver, which over the period 2018-19 shows a 60% uplift in participants’ knowledge and confidence, and a 98% learner satisfaction rating.

Growth and strategy
Recognised by the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship for my approach to business planning, I make extensive use of canvases to facilitate the co-creation of plans and strategy with clients.
I am also an approved provider within various funded growth programmes, and have also supported several enterprises with exploring and developing franchising growth strategies.

Impact, social value, and csr
As the only freelance enterprise consultant to annually publish a social value report on the impact of my business practices on the local economy, community, environment, and charitable sectors, I have been commissioned to develop several national impact reporting toolkits for use by local enterprises and community groups by sector bodies.
Named as the UK’s most innovative in corporate social responsibility solutions in the Global Business Insight Awards, amongst other csr activities I also facilitate the creation of cross-sector partnerships that create mutual impact in economic, social, and environmental measures.

Although not a formally trained solicitor, I have influenced national legislation where it relates to company and charitable law, and regularly deliver expert masterclasses relating to business forms for sector bodies and university start-up programmes.
I am also a specialist associate for an international College, leading on the delivery of governance programmes and undertaking bespoke consultancy pieces of work for their clients in this field.

Workspace and incubation
Having developed several new models of workspace and enterprise incubators with different focuses (rural enterprise, enterprise in areas of multiple deprivation, homeless entrepreneurs), several sites have now been commissioned and are offering the services these models designed.

Named as one the UK’s top10 business advisers by the UK government, partly in recognition for my work in developing and delivering enterprise start-up programmes within prisons, I was also invited to be a founding Fellow of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. In 2020, I will also be the first business consultant with a physical presence on Mars, thanks largely to an opportunity to work with NASA.

2019 – best UK freelance enterprise consultant, AI Business excellence awards
2018 – UK most outstanding business development adviser, AI Corporate finance year in review awards
2018 – shortlisted as IOEE national enterprise support champion of the year
2018 – UK social enterprise trainer, and research specialist of the year, AI Global Media
2017 – excellence in UK corporate consultant services, Corporate LiveWire Global awards
2016 – ‘ones to watch’: top 50 business business consultants, Acquisition International
2015 – UK top10 business adviser, BIS and Enterprise Nation

Accredited certificate and advanced diploma in business support from CMI
Accredited management coach and mentor from CMI
SFEDI certificated as advisor to enterprise (including social enterprise)
Certified auditor for the Organisation of Responsible Business standard
Certificated trainer by the Institute of Leadership & Management

Professional memberships
Co-operatives UK
Federation of Small Business
Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
Organisation of Responsible Businesses
Social Value UK
Voluntary Sector Studies Network
UK Society for Co-operative Studies

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