Can Social Enterprises attract millennials?


Today at the Global Entrepreneurship Community conference, I heard 2 questions from delegates that stood out because of its relevance and intensity.

‘Why we have so much focus on tech startups, where are the non tech entrepreneurs ?’

‘Can social enterprises survive in a commercially oriented, non compassionate environment?’

One thing for sure- to thrive, or even survive, all kinds of entrepreneurs need technology. Take a handy crafts maker in a rural village in Sri Lanka. He cannot get a good price, because he doesn’t know how to place her products in a e-commerce portal. Even if she did, she won’t be able to receive money. Paypal is not providing inward remittances in Sri Lanka. There are alternatives such as Skrill, but very few people know it.

Social enterprises who can help the non tech entrepreneurs are struggling to recruit millennials who are good at tech game. Contrary to the popular belief that millennials are socially conscious, they are not dreaming about joining a social enterprise after graduation. It’s simple economics – tech, finance and services sector provide benefits that are too lucrative to say no. This is the reality and we should face it.

So how can a social enterprise attract good talent at a lower budget?

First, cut down the hierarchy. Make communication fluid and easy. Let their voices be heard loud and clear. Secondly, provide meaningful work for them to learn, fall and grow. Offer clear career progression. Thirdly, make sure you coach them. Of course, let them do the work, but don’t just see them trip over, be there to raise them up.

Finally, be lean in all things. Don’t get too many people onboard. Just get the right set of people . Throw challenges at them, so that your small team grows on each other, each day.

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