Colin Crooks MBE

A good listener who creates rapport and asks the right questions to identify the salient issues

Qualified coach in enterprise and start-up development

Author of “How to make a million jobs – A Charter for Social Enterprise”

Green-Works Received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Sustainable Development) 2008

Colin has set up Intentionality to find and support enterprises that can make positive change happen.

As a serial social entrepreneur with a track record of establishing impactful and sustainable social enterprises he was awarded an MBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list for services to disadvantaged people and the environment. He believes that significant social and environmental benefits can be created through ethical business and his book ‘How to Make a Million Jobs, A charter for social enterprise’ set out a route map for encouraging social enterprise.

Starting or growing a business can be very demanding and at times confusing. Founders and directors are often too close to the detail to see the bigger picture and at certain crucial points they need help to gain a different perspective. Sometimes that will be from an individual coach or business advisor and sometimes it requires a team effort. Colin has a proven track record of being able to get to the heart of the issue and put together a plan that matches the challenge. He will put together the right blend of experienced and empathetic people that is right for your situation.

About Colin

Director at Locality (current)
Locality is the national network supporting community organisations to be strong and successful, with especial responsibility for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.

Director at SE24 (current)
SE24 is a Community Benefit Society dedicated to encouraging and developing locally-owned renewable energy projects, and energy conservation measures, with especial focus on delivering our community programme aimed at tackling fuel poverty.

Founder and CEO 2011 – 2021   Tree Shepherd                                                  

This social enterprise (later adopting charitable status) was established to prove the hypothesis that jobs can be created even in communities with high structural unemployment, by harnessing the natural entrepreneurial talent of local residents. Colin devised a unique enterprise training and business incubation model specifically to support people with raw talent but few other resources. He also developed a measurement model to track the social impact of Tree Shepherd’s activities. Using the model, Tree Shepherd trained & supported >2600 people, with 40% starting a business and created £8.73 for every £1 of investment.

Founder and CEO 2000 – 2011 Green-Works                                                   

Colin created and led this social enterprise and charity using a unique business model to pioneer a new market for commercial furniture reuse and recycling. By leveraging income from providing high quality commercial services Green-Works was able to deliver significant environmental and social outcomes – diverting 47,000 tonnes of office furniture from landfill and creating employment and training for 850 marginalised people across 5 locations (Bristol, Glasgow, Wolverhampton, and west and east London) in the UK. In the process Colin grew the turnover from £3,000 in year one to just under £3m.

Green-Works received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Sustainable Development) 2008 and multiple awards for social enterprise and environmental impact.

Consultant, Chairman, CEO 1998 – 2004 Renew North East Gateshead and Renew Trust (UK),             

A social enterprise training unemployed young people to refurbish white goods for resale.

Manager 1998 – 2000 Cybercycle       A social enterprise training unemployed young people to repair and reuse IT equipment based in Angell Town, Brixton

Founder & Managing Director  1994 – 2002 3Re             An environmental consultancy that pioneered commercial waste auditing and Shared Savings business model.

Founder & Managing Director 1989 – 1994 Papercycle    Business to business recycling service, started with £150 investment, first to offer a mixed material recycling model for office paper, cardboard, plastics, metals and printer consumables.

Non-Executive Director roles

Executive Chairman at London Community Resource Network
(2009 – 2016)
Elected Chair of the London Community Reuse Network in September 2010 having been an active Board member for a number of years. Acted as Executive Chair during the recruitment process for a new CEO. Played a key role in developing the London Reuse Network as a means of sustainably dealing with redundant products while creating valuable jobs.

Social Entrepreneur in Residence at School for Social Entrepreneurs
(2011 – 2012)
Resident social enterprise practitioner taking students through the journey of setting up, running and expanding a social enterprise. Led on project to bring a more commercial approach to the school and broaden its market