A social entrepreneur helping social entrepreneurs

Craig Dearden-Philips MBE, social entrepreneur and angel investor, joins us this week. He is the founder of Stepping Out, Voice Ability and Social Club, as well as a writer and academic. Craig tells his inspirational journey from voluntary work to his present-day social investment portfolio and social leadership publications. His first venture, built from youthful energy and a hand to mouth cash flow, was a system designed to support people with mental health and learning difficulties. Deemed by Craig essential, as both the public and charity sectors were not achieving what they where designed to do. Craig recalls how he always wanted to “build and create things that benefited society”, and how his motivation to help others pushed him into his entrepreneurial endeavours.

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Craig Dearden-Phillips is a Social Entrepreneur & Investor, Writer & Academic & Advocate has spent 25-year establishing social businesses, investing in them and writing about social leadership.

His current venture is Stepping Out Ltd which he set up in 2010 and is now a successful SME that has supported the formation and growth of 30 new social enterprises in the UK public and voluntary sectors.   Stepping Out works primarily with CEOs and senior teams on the question ‘How do we Grow?’  - primarily in terms of impact.  Alongside this Craig has set up an ‘angel-fund’ the Stepping Out Foundation to invest in promising social sector start-ups.   

Most recently, Craig has set up Social Club a business club for 130 third sector leaders with five clubs, three in London and two in Manchester.   His latest project is Social Rocket, a new venture-fund for high potential ventures that are 2-5 years in.

Craig cut his teeth as founder and CEO (for 12 years) a non-profit VoiceAbility an advocacy service for people with mental health problems and other difficulties which today has a turnover of £10m million and numerous awards. Beyond day-to-day business, Craig served from 2013-19 as a Trustee of grant-maker Impetus-PEF and was Vice-Chair of its Investment Committee.

Further to this, Craig is the author of three popular leadership and social business books, his latest being ‘How to Change the World: The Essential Guide for Social Sector Leaders’.  Craig is the lead senior management commentator for The Guardian and Third Sector magazine and speaks regularly to both academic and lay audiences both in the UK and overseas.  Craig is also a Visiting Lecturer at London Cass Business School and leads on the Social Enterprise Masters Module.  He was also a Visiting Fellow of the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Social Innovation from 2014-15.

From 2009, Craig served as a County Councillor (Lib Dem) on Suffolk County Council, standing down to focus on his social and philanthropic interests in 2013. In recognition of his services to Social Enterprise, Craig was awarded the MBE in 2009. 

Outside of work Craig is a keen Club-level cyclist and runner and in 2017 represented Team GB Triathlon in a World Championship event in Geneva.   

Produced by Mark Cotton, Twitter.

Podcast links:

Article in the Third Sector publication - Craig Dearden-Phillips: Change is needed to attract and retain charity chief executives.

Buy Craig’s book here : How to Change The World: The essential guide for social sector leaders

Article in Go Mutual Craig Dearden-Phillips: We can learn much from Extinction Rebellion