Robert Ashton

Robert Ashton

Social entrepreneur, Quaker and author
01953 665056
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Robert Ashton - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview, Commission a book


Biography, Business, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Self-help

Book types

Non-fiction for adults


Robert Ashton is a social entrepreneur, author and campaigner. Redundancy in 1990 introduced him to self-employment. Since then he’s worked independently, sometimes with a team but more usually on his own. He campaigned for the formation of Norfolk Community Foundation and in 2013 launched Swarm Apprenticeships CIC; a values led apprenticeship and recruitment company.

In 2018 he co-founded Norwich Mustard, a community benefit society, formed in response to the closure of Colman’s Mustard factory in Norwich.

Robert is a sensitive and thoughtful speaker, enthusiastic to share his experience in ways that can inspire and encourage others to lead sustainable change. He has spoken at conferences in the UK, Europe and Africa, and led workshops to build the confidence and skills of early stage entrepreneurs.He has also appeared on live TV and radio, in both the UK and Canada.

As well as writing books that help people develop their enterprise skills, Robert is particularly interested in prejudice and stigma, and how writing the stories of those society considers to be 'different' can build unterstanding and reduce tension.

A Quaker, Robert is driven by a strong sense of social justice. Autumn 2019 saw him going to university for the first time, to study for an MA in Biography and Creative Non-Fiction. He is currently researching and writing a book that explores how life in rural England has evolved, and will continue to evolve, as interest grows in making communities more self sufficient.

Books by Robert Ashton

While I will always be a social entrepreneur, writing books that help others change the world, I am currently taking an MA in Creative Writing to help me switch my focus to life writing. I am fascinated by the way communities are evolving and am currently researching a book about how life is evolving in rural East Suffolk, building on the work of oral historian George Ewart Evans


Any Spare Change

Nobody sets out to become homeless or to sleep rough. But circumstances can conspire against you, leaving you vulnerable, frightened, very alone and perhaps even abused. Norwich Quaker Robert Ashton decided to he wanted to understand what led people to live sleep rough in our cities and spent summer 2019 talking to people in and around the streets of his city. 

How to be a Social Entrepreneur

A book for budding social entrepreneurs, written by an experience soxial entrepreneur. This book tells you what you need to know to lead sustainable social change in our world 

The Entrepreneur's Book of Checklists

Easy to navigate and simple to read, The Entrepreneur's Book of Checklists is not written to be read froom cover to cover, more to become an invaluable source of reference at every stage of the small business journey. As important as an evangelist's bible, or a car mechanic's workshop, this book will be used, heavily bookmarked and become a much worn friend. Each checklist is backed up by supporting advice or a real life case study - see how the tips have already helped someone just like you. 

Sales for Non-Salespeople

If you know how to sell, you know how to succeed. Selling is the most important, and perhaps the most misunderstood workplace skill. Once you understand how to sell you will become more persuasive, naturally and confidently. This book has four sections, enabling the reader to focus on their most pressing need: * Selling basics - a simple, explicit guide to the sales process; * Selling yourself - and how to get noticed, connected and respected; * Selling to colleagues - presenting, persuading and getting promoted; * Selling to customers - winning orders and succeeding in shops & at show 

How to Start Your Own Business for Entrepreneurs

Relevant to entrepreneurs of any experience, it covers absolutely every aspect of starting a business from bullet-proof plans to the best way to structure a business for a successful sell-on later. It includes information on brand management, customer service, marketing, financials and staffing, so you are fully prepared to set sail on your business journey. 

The Life Plan

Changing your life does not have to be a daunting process. All you need to remember, is that the key to successful life change is lots of small, but positive steps, that together create huge impact. The Life Plan contains 700 of these small steps, leading you step by step through each area of your life.