I describe myself as a social entrepreneur, author and campaigner. I passionately believe that social entrepreneurship is as much an attitude as a skill. It can liberate, empower individuals, organisations and communities, enabling them to deliver sustainable profound social change.
My 17th book, 'Sales for non-Salespeople' was published by Hodder & Stoughton in August 2014. It will help you sell yourself, your ideas, products & services. These days we all have to sell to succeed, but it needs to be done with subtlety!
I've developed a one day sales course based on both the book. I'll be running these across the UK, both in-house for organisations and as open programmes; full details on my website www.robertashton.co.uk .
Perhaps like you, I learn by doing. I enjoy working with others to solve their enterprise conundrums. Recently I've helped a school raise £10m for a new campus, created an urban Development Trust and helped a Town Council with the asset transfer.
I've also launched my own social business, Swarm Apprenticeships, which blends an enterprise qualification and business support to connect 'bright NEET' youngsters with small business owners. We won investment from Big Issue and in 2015, an RSA Catalyst Award.
I'm also active on the Board of Trust Norfolk SEN, a coop Trust of ten complex needs schools in Norfolk. Both of these ventures enable me to help those who fall outside the narrow definition of normal, achieve more than other tell thim is possible!
People say I'm different, although from my side of the beard that's hard to judge. Hazel Blears MP described me as 'human WD40'. She liked the way I get into the gaps between organisations. A Housing Association CEO said I was like a hand grenade. 'You pay the fee, pull the pin and wait for the bang,' he said. 'I'm never sure where or when the explosion will be, but it's always positive.'
Finally, I rather enjoy challenging conference audiences as keynote speaker or event chairman. As you can imagine I have plenty of stories to share, but more importantly take the trouble to research the event and never, ever just deliver the same old carefully rehearsed speech!
I hope you enjoy reading my books. Do let me know what you think and do feel free to email me any questions. You are my reader, my audience and the person I'm writing for. I welcome your feedback!