Irwin Grayson Associates

Irwin Grayson Associates are consultants in economic regeneration who can help you develop innovative approaches to enterprise and economic development. They have a particular focus on small business, entrepreneurship and enterprise support and on regulatory reform and supporting business and trade associations to influence public policy.

David Irwin David Grayson Irwin Grayson Associates is a partnership of David Irwin and David Grayson. In 1980, they founded Project North East, one of the UK's leading enterprise and economic development agencies, which has now worked in more than 40 countries.

Irwin Grayson Associates undertake strategic reviews, programme design and assist with implementation of initiatives intended to provide support to new and growing businesses including support for international trade as well initiatives including incubator workspace and finance. They undertake programme evaluations and provide policy advice to governments and private sector organisations including on regulatory reform and the business enabling environment.

IGA works throughout the world, with a particular focus on the UK, Africa and south east Asia. Current and former clients include Asian Development Bank, DANIDA, DFID (now FCDO), Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, International Labour Organisation, International Trade Centre, Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, OECD and the World Bank.

David Irwin

David Irwin continued to manage and grow Project North East until 2000. PNE achieved a number of firsts including the first Youth Enterprise Centre which became a model for centres in the UK and internationally. In 1984, PNE started managing Livewire in the north east of England and then won the contract to provide the national management starting from 1986 and continued to do so until 2019.

In 2000, he was appointed as the first Chief Executive of the UK's Small Business Service taking responsibility for all of the UK Government's support for SMEs and a newly created role to be the "strong voice for small business at the heart of government" advocating the case for an improved regulatory environment. He stepped down from that role in mid-2002.

David is Chairman of Cobweb Information Ltd, a business that researches, publishes and markets business information. Following research into the competences that assist trade associations to succeed in influencing public policy in east Africa, he was awarded a PhD by Newcastle University in 2019. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Politics, Newcastle University.

David is a holder of the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion which he was awarded in 2009.

David Grayson CBE

David Grayson was Professor of Corporate Responsibility and founding Director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield University School of Management from 2007 to 2017. He is now Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility. He sits on Corporate Responsibility Advisory Boards for Camelot and for Lloyds Bank. He is part of the faculty for the Forward Institute and is a member of the Circle of Advisers for Business fights Poverty.

David has also been a social entrepreneur during which time he chaired Housing 21, was a Managing Director of Business in the Community, chaired the UK Small Business Consortium, was the first, joint Managing Director of the Prince's Youth Business Trust; and the director of The Prince of Wales Award for Innovation. David was formerly a board member of the National Co-operative Development Agency and of the Strategic Rail Authority. He chaired the National Disability Council and the Business Link Accreditation Board in each case appointed by the Major Government and re-appointed by the Blair Government. He currently chairs the national charity Carers UK.

Much of David's recent work has focussed on how to shift Corporate Responsibility from being a bolt-on to business operations to being built-in to business purpose and strategy. He is especially interested in how a genuine commitment to sustainability and responsibility can become a source of creativity and innovation, leading to new business opportunities. He speaks, writes and advises regularly on business, society, entrepreneurship and future trends for businesses, media and business schools around the world. He has worked with many, leading global businesses including BP, Shell, Microsoft and Diageo. He has also worked with international institutions such as the OECD, the European Union and the World Bank. He was a visiting Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard 2006-10.

David's books include Corporate Social Opportunity: Seven Steps to make Corporate Social Responsibility work for your business (Greenleaf, 2004); Everybody's Business - Managing Risks and Opportunities in to-day's global society (Dorling Kindersley and the Financial Times 2001) - both co-authored with Adrian Hodges; Corporate Responsibility Coalitions: The Past, Present, and Future of Alliances for Sustainable Capitalism co-authored with Jane Nelson, published by Greenleaf Publishing and Stanford University Press(2013); Social Intrapreneurism & all that Jazz (2014) co-authored with Melody McLaren and Heiko Spitzeck; and Take Care: How to be a great employer for working carers (2017). He has also contributed to several other books including The Accountable Corporation, What if? Mainstreaming Corporate Responsibility (2010) and Managing Sustainable Business: An Executive Education Case and Textbook (2018)

He was awarded the OBE for services to industry in 1994 and the CBE for services to disability in 1999. He is happiest on, in or - preferably - under water - in hot climates. Speeches, articles and other resources are regularly posted at and Cranfield's website. He blogs for Guardian Sustainable Business and tweets at @DavidGrayson_ The Guardian has named David as one of top ten global tweeters on sustainable leadership alongside Al Gore, Tim Cook - CEO of Apple, and Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook's COO.
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Read about David Grayson's latest book, Take Care!