Adrian Ashton

Adrian Ashton



About me

Feted with various awards in recognition for my support to enterprises of all types, and across different sectors, I also hold the world-record for the most number of consecutive social impact (ESG/CSR) reports published (17!), and the pocket book I accidently wrote that challenges accepted wisdom about imposter syndrome is now a best-seller and sold in 5 different countries.

I’ve worked with market traders to senior civil servants in the Cabinet office on a range of enterprise and start-up policies and programmes; co-produced university degree modules; and also supported different faith communities to explore how to reconcile their dogmas with different business models and ways of working.

Several national sector bodies have me as their ‘go to guy’ on matters relating to governance, legal structures, co-operatives, social enterprise, and EDI.


Vocational and industrial trainer or instructor Management consultant or business analyst Business or financial project management professional Finance and investment analyst or adviser Business or related research professional Higher education teaching professional


L&D / Training Measurement and reporting Defining Development & Training Needs Business Research & Data Collection Preparing & Presenting Reports Business Analysis Cost Benefit Analysis / Business Cases Team Leadership Programme / Project Planning & Governance Budget Planning Drafting & Writing Text Change Management Diversity & Inclusion

Work history

Navigating the Maze - an introductory guide to social enterprise legal forms


Dec 2022 - Mar 2014

Commissioned by SELnet to draft a new resource to support social entrepreneurs better appreciate the range and implications of different legal forms they can adopt for their ventures; and for existing social enterprises to better periodically review their adopted legal form to ensure it remains 'fit for purpose' in light of changes to trading, markets, and communities.

Borrowing in the wild - rural perspectives on social investment

Barrow Cadbury Trust

Nov 2017 - Feb 2018

A literature review on behalf of social investors the Key Fund and Barrow Cadbury Trust, into the realities of how rural social enterprises may need to have social investment products redesigned in order for them to be able to best engage with this model of finance.

Getting Boards on Board

3xE / Crisis

Oct 2011 - Feb 2012

3xE was a national programme supporting organisations in the homeless sector create social enterprises further help people affected by homelessness to access work and skills. I was commissioned to draft this guide for how resistance amongst Trustees in charities and similar to developing (social) enterprise activities might be approached, so that opportunities to create new and more ways to impact communities and people might not be otherwise lost.

Business incubators for homeless entrepreneurs

3xE / Crisis

Jun 2010 - Mar 2012

3xE was a national programme supporting organisations in the homeless sector create social enterprises further help people affected by homelessness to access work and skills. As part of it, I was commissioned to develop a new model of business incubator that could better enable homeless entrepreneurs to be supported in developing their own enterprises as a route to employment.

Lending to co-operatives and social enterprises

Cambridge Co-operative Development Agency

Mar 2003 - Mar 2004

I researched the history, impact, and learnings for other social investors, of one of the earliest social investment funds that was based on a peer model of lending.

IPSE member story

Member Story Enterprise Consultant Adrian Ashton

After more than 18 years in self-employment, Enterprise Consultant Adrian Ashton has a wealth of knowledge and useful insights for anyone looking to build a sustainable, long-term career.

Read member story


Non-employee of the Week

Being Freelance, 2021

UK best enterprise adviser

Enterprise Nation, 2022

shortlisted as one of top50 enterprise advisers - was also named as one of the top10 enterprise advisers by Enterprise Nation in 2015.

Vice Chancellors award for excellence in collaborative teaching

Anglia Ruskin University, 2021

Awarded in recognition of my role and contributions to the highly acclaimed on-line course for leaders of charitable and social enterprises.

Doctorate (h.c.)

CCU Institute , 2021

Awarded in recognition of my impact on businesses I've supported, as well as my contributions and influence to and on the policy, legislative, and wider ecosystem of enterprise support across the UK.

National Enterprise Support Champion

Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship , 2018

shortlisted for this award, as well as being the IOEE's member of the year - having previously won the IOEE's award for 'most enterprising member' in 2013.