You’ve spent years studying at University, landed your dream job shortly after and spent the next few years advancing through the corporate ladder. Now what? Why not work for something that you truly believe in, place value in and do your bit to help change or create a positive social impact. Seeking an opportunity to do something more meaningful in your everyday life resonates with a vast majority; they’ve come to the realisation that they want more out of life and are in a position to give back to their community and beyond those boundaries.
The corporate world is a fast paced, money making, uncertainty. It has its pros; a decent salary, job security (for the most part) and let’s face it, you can quit and find another job for more money and a better boss if you’ve had enough of the old one. You might also have a great group of colleagues for Friday night drinks, morning catch ups over a long macchiato and the annual Christmas party is always something to look forward to. You get into work early before people start to hassle you, and you stay late so that you can get a head start on the following day, you feel in control, but by the end of the week you’re exhausted. At least you can go for a couple of drinks to wind down after a hectic week!
"Once upon a time you’d work your ‘real’ job Monday to Friday and leave your personal interests, passion and values for your own time. Whilst this is still true for many, more and more are starting to rethink or at least explore the option of combining the two."
Success is what we aspire to, but social conscious to some, plays an even bigger role in the purpose of a startup. Transitioning into a social entrepreneur from the corporate world, may begin with starting to feel lost, suffering burnout, becoming underwhelmed or even depressed working in their 9-5 job, especially if their only mid-way through their career. So why do so few of us follow our passions in life? Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of not knowing where to begin. Fear of not making money. Fear of upsetting their family. The list of fears goes on and on. Those fears are certainly warranted, but at what cost?
Adrian Merrick is an example of a corporate gone social he was a former group executive manager of retail at EnergyAustralia. He said it’s more to do with being a “frustrated entrepreneur” than going through a moral crisis in such a profit-driven environment. Merrick’s move, though, also feels to have an air of jumping ship. Merrick’s idea to run an energy retailer as a social enterprise – giving at least 50 per cent of profits to local causes or renewable energy development – taps into a growing market of disillusioned consumers, and could actually be the key to financial success. Merrick says people feeling “screwed by big companies” has been a big reason for the rise of social enterprise. And the energy market is definitely one area where consumers feel screwed over, with fast rising prices, increasing disconnections, confusing plans and contracts, and sometimes unscrupulous practices that have seen ombudsman complaints bloom. (read more here)
Until the 2010 FASES Report, a joint initiative of Social Traders and the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, there was little research about social enterprise in Australia. This key report found that there are around 20,000 social enterprises operating in Australia and employing more than 300,000 and contributing to 2-3% of GDP. (Source: Community Door). Social enterprises employ twice the rates of Australians with disability and female managers as mainstream small businesses; this in itself is progressive accomplishment. This shows that social enterprises are an important vehicle for the development of an inclusive economy — one that broadens economic participation is more equitable, stable, and sustainable.
Social enterprises operate in every industry of the economy, harnessing business principles to find innovative solutions to our most entrenched social problems. However, there has not been the level of strategic support for social enterprise seen in the UK or some other parts of Europe. The Australian social enterprise ecosystem remains underdeveloped and disorganised.
All this aside there are ways of working through the challengers and often complex issues around starting your own social enterprise. Plan well and think carefully, what’s the purpose and what do you want do you want to achieve through each stage of your business. Bring your social change idea to life by telling people about it. Once it is out of your head and into the world, it becomes a real, tangible thing. You will be amazed at the support you will receive and the doors that will open when people hear you speak passionately about your vision.
Don’t risk everything. Think about working part-time to keep the cash flow coming. It also gives perspective and the chance to keep meeting people, which may inevitable turn into a potential co-founder. Keep in mind that many successful individuals failed several times before they finally succeeded. Preserve your relationships and don’t burn your bridges as you leave. You might either need to get back to working or connect with employers as part of your business.
· Defining Your Social Enterprise
· Choosing a Business Model
· Choosing a Legal Structure
· Corporate Governance
Associate Professor Jo Barraket and Heather Anderson, from the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (QUT), asked a number of social enterprises what their greatest challenges were. The number one issue was finance; funding, seeking capital at start-up, but also as an ongoing problem when operating and expanding.
Starting your own business can be risky, but so can having a job. There is a transferable skill set from the corporate world to running your own business; managing staff, finances, building networks and creating business strategies, however there are a few things to consider before going post-corporate. Are you prepared for the lifestyle change, the workload, the adjustment, the potential financial strain and commitment needed to build your idea from the ground up? If the answer is a (confident) yes, then the journey may just be for you.
We’re given the opportunity to read and understand more than we ever have. The internet, social media platforms, blogs, case studies, support networks, all give us the tools to research and learn the value of starting a social enterprise to build a better future for our community. Stay motivated, keep reading, learning and talking. If you don’t want to work from someone else anymore, follow that fire within and turn your vision into a reality.
One10 are ready to support the next purpose driven people determined to build a successful and sustainable startup. We can share our knowledge, expertise, networks and capital to encourage and help the next generation of social entrepreneurs.
We have two capacity building streams for purpose-driven people harnessing the power of business for good: Activate and Amplify. Through our Activate Program, we unleash your potential to create meaningful change by providing you with the practical skills necessary to innovate with purpose. From hypotheses formation to idea validation, we will show you how to think with a lean startup entrepreneur mindset, and equip you with the tools you'll need to build strong foundations for your startup.
Applications are now opened for 2018, Apply Today.
Our second program, Amplify Program, we will help you develop your best go-to-market strategy, build investment-readiness, and raise seed capital. Highly tailored for your unique organisation, our Amplify Program will reinforce what's good, adapt what's shaky, and launch you forward to the next level – all while holding your values at the core.
Sounds like you, Apply Here for 2018.
For more information on Activate and Amplify and program features, visit our website: