Want to Work in Social Enterprise? Here’s How.

Here’s how to break into the world of social enterprise and not just collect a paycheck but also make a lasting impact.

WHY DO SOCIAL ENTERPRISES MATTER?

We live in a new age as Millennials and Generation Z grapple with the dire problems our planet is facing. To this day, 1 in 3 people still live without clean water. We don’t yet have viable solutions for managing the deluge of single-use plastics polluting our home planet. Upward mobility is still out of reach for many people as inflation soars and issues of homelessness, systemic racism, and addiction ravage our societies. 

As our population surpasses our natural resources and strains our global supply chain, we need sustainable and innovative solutions in every sector to abate the peril we all face. 

Social enterprises provide solutions to these behemoth problems. By embedding a social cause into the core of their business, they filter their revenue back into the company to continue their cause. Social enterprises promote and facilitate social change through their self-sustaining economic model.

SOCIAL ENTERPRISES ARE NOT NEW

Reinvesting wealth for the betterment of the community is a concept that has been around for a long time. Historically, nations have sought to control their populaces with charity. According to MovingWorlds, a company that supports social entrepreneurs with the information, resources, and connections they would need to thrive, the concept of social enterprise as a business model came into modern relevance in 1951. 

According to the MovingWorlds blog:

 “It’s important to note that the idea of connecting business with charity was not only a Western ideal. In India, Vinoba Bhave founded India’s Land Gift Movement (1951). In fact, it was Bhave’s work that inspired Bill Drayton, the founder of Ashoka, to label and define the term of social enterprise in 1972. In the 1980’s, Drayton launched Ashoka to create a social enterprise movement – and it worked.”

Ashoka is a leader in supporting social entrepreneurs to usher in global sustainable change.

EXPLORE YOUR CORE VALUES TO FIND YOUR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE NICHE

There are any number of societal problems that you can get involved in by choosing a job in the field of social enterprise. But first, it’s best to meditate on what issues pull at your heartstrings.

  • Are you passionate about the environment?
  • Does the lack of jobs for incarnated individuals bother you?
  • Is fast fashion a source of contention in your life?
  • Does packaging at the grocery store stress you out?
  • Are you interested in finance and how small business loans can uplift people out of poverty?

LET’S EXPLORE A FEW DIFFERENT SECTORS OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISE THAT MAKE AN IMPACT FOR THE GREATER GOOD! 

CLIMATE

Topics like clean energy, carbon emission reduction, and sustainable supply chains are the way of the future. 

If you are deeply concerned about climate change and want to be a part of the solution, not the problem, an outside-the-box career in climate social enterprise could be for you. 

As companies sprout up with innovative solutions to address the number one crisis our planet faces, the options are impressive.

Take Leaf Resources, for instance. This Australian company ingeniously sources pine trees from renewable forests. It turns the tree’s extracts into a replacement for anywhere petroleum-based chemicals are used, like perfumes, soaps, printer inks, and oils in paints. 

Climatebase is a great job board for connecting future employees with a core interest in the climate field.

THE ARTS

It is widely known that the arts benefit and enrich our lives in innumerable ways.

Proven to reduce stress, experiencing the arts is also known to open our hearts and minds. Art can help us stay open in the face of topics that make us uncomfortable, enhancing mutual understanding between neighbors. Because it can powerfully expand our thinking about what’s possible, exposure to the arts has also proven to help alleviate poverty. 

John Clammer, the author of Art, Culture and International Development: Humanizing Social Transformation, told The United Nations University that craft promotions, like jewelry making, can teach fundamental business skills, generate a livelihood, and lift people out of poverty. Many social enterprises employ this approach in successful programs for low-income and homeless women and families.

There are many facets to art-based social enterprises that can provide a life full of enrichment and purpose. Trend Hunter AI has a list of art-inspired social enterprises worth exploring. 

NONPROFITS

What’s the difference between a traditional nonprofit and a social enterprise nonprofit? 

Traditional nonprofits generally rely on fundraising and grants to sustain their cause. A social enterprise nonprofit has an earned-income approach to provide consistent cash flow and further its mission. A good example is the products sold on the ACLU’s online store or those made and sold by Lighthouse for the Blind.

If you have a more entrepreneurial spirit or are an artist, you could sell your product with a nonprofit and align your business model for the better. 

You could even hire marginalized communities like people with disabilities. 

Keith Wargo, the President and CEO of the nonprofit Autism Speaks, started a company called Monarch Cypress, which sells luxury robes and provides jobs to autistic individuals. 

Careers in the nonprofit world are endless! The blog Tech for Good has an excellent list of social enterprise nonprofits.

CLOSING GAPS

Discrimination comes in many forms. Systemic racism, ageism, and sexism still define our workspaces. Women often feel unsafe in the workplace due to sexual harassment and victimized by pay inequalities. Looking for a job with a company that actively supports and combats these issues is within the realm of social enterprise. 

Remote Woman is a resource for women to explore remote work with pro-women companies. 

As you can see, a career in the vast world of social enterprise can be rewarding.

Although we’ve touched on a few career trajectories, there are many more to explore in our ever-changing world. 

MORE SOURCES TO WIDEN YOUR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE JOB SEARCH

Still trying to decide what direction to head toward? 

A social enterprise career coach could be a good place to start. Elevate Social Impact, a boutique social impact firm, offers one-on-one career coaching services. They match people like you, seeking jobs in social enterprise, with employers looking for people with the right mindset and skill sets to make a difference. 

Are you looking to generate a higher income and have an advanced degree? Causeartist is a blog dedicated to socially responsible businesses. Click here for their expertly-curated list of high-paying social enterprise jobs.

TUNE IN TO THIS HIGH-VALUE RESOURCE - AN INTERVIEW WITH MOVING WORLDS

Check out this Social Enterprise Alliance podcast interview with MovingWorlds’ CEO Mark Horszowski to get deeper insight into how social enterprises can benefit today’s corporate sector. MovingWorlds is a 2021 Fast Company World Changing Idea Honoree.

THE TRUTH - CONNECT WITH THE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE COMMUNITY TO FIND YOUR NICHE

The consequences of industrialization have finally caught up with us. The inequities in society are growing. The income gap between the rich and the rest has widened with alarming speed over the past 20-50 years. Social enterprises, by our very existence, lead a call to action to resist this trend. Social enterprises envision a more just and equitable society and an economy that works for everyone. Get on a more fulfilling path today! Become a member of the Social Alliance Enterprise and find your community today!