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Craig Dearden-Phillips MBE

Craig sits at a table and smiles into the camera

Areas of Interest

Business, Charity

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Business Administration


Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Craig Dearden-Phillips MBE for the award of Honorary Doctor of Business Administration.

Craig has played a key role in the growth of social enterprise in the UK – as a social entrepreneur, an author, a mentor, and an adviser.

As an entrepreneur, he’s the founder of VoiceAbility – a social enterprise with a turnover of £10 million which has won numerous awards for its advocacy work on behalf of people with mental health problems and learning disabilities.

His venture Social Minds has assisted NHS and local government staff to spin out and form over 30 new mutual organisations which drive change and deliver enhanced services.

As an author, he has written three books on social sector leadership and has been a regular contributor on this topic to The Guardian and the trade journal Third Sector.

His latest projects include: a social sector leadership organisation called Social Club, combining masterclasses and action learning sets for over 130 CEOs and up-and-coming managers across the UK; a start-up incubator called Social Rocket; and a brand new podcast called Social Business Builders.

All of Craig’s pioneering work was recognised with an MBE in 2009.

Craig’s link with ARU began in 2008, when he spoke at the founding conference of Third Sector Futures, the specialist unit at ARU that deals with charity and social enterprise.

Since then, he has continued to support the University, speaking at our charity course summer school in 2017, and at Third Sector Futures’ leadership conference, Quid Pro Quo, in 2013.

The University hosted the launch of his most recent work How to Change the World in 2018, and his books are used on our charity and social enterprise leadership course.

Craig’s work resonates with ARU’s mission of delivering innovative, inclusive, and entrepreneurial education and research.

We look forward to continuing our fruitful relationship with Craig and we are delighted to formally welcome him into the ARU family.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Craig Dearden-Phillips MBE for the award of Honorary Doctor of Business Administration.