On Purpose – talent for social enterprise

By Tom Rippin, CEO of On Purpose

On Purpose believes that for social enterprise to fulfil its potential, it is critical for it to attract and work with the very best people. Many organisations are currently researching new forms of financing for social enterprises or helping social entrepreneurs start up new ventures, but too little effort is being concentrated on attracting and developing high calibre talent to help manage and grow later stage social enterprises.

At the same time, there is huge interest out there, especially amongst professionals in their 20s and 30s who want to work in social enterprise and see it as a promising alternative both to shareholder-driven capitalism and to traditional, philanthropy-dependent charitable approaches.

On Purpose is a leadership programme for the next generation of leaders who will use the power of business to help solve society’s biggest problems. We believe that if we find the most inspiring people, provide them with the right experience, training, support and networks, then great things will happen. On Purpose recruits professionals with at least two years of work experience into a one year, full-time programme that provides this and so kick-starts their careers in social enterprise.

It  is a full-time, 12-month leadership programme that combines paid on-the-job experience with a world-class training and coaching support structure. The programme participants (“Associates”) are high-calibre individuals from a variety of backgrounds who show commitment to a career in social enterprise.

During the programme the Associates:

  • Complete two 6-month work placements, that provide real-life, on-the-ground work experience in return for a modest salary from the placement host
  • Spend half a day each week on a “mini social enterprise MBA” delivered predominantly by professionals from third-party organisations
  • Receive regular 1:1 mentoring and coaching from experienced professionals to support them in delivering value to their host placements and in planning their career beyond On Purpose

After the programme, Associates find a job in one of their two work placements or in another social enterprise or return to a more traditional corporate, public or charity organisation to which they will take a social enterprise way of thinking. In this way, On Purpose is developing a committed and influential network of alumni who are working on sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest problems across all sectors.

Managing a social enterprise is more complex than managing a solely commercial or solely charitable organisation and yet talent processes in this space are dangerously under-developed; as a consequence many people struggle to find meaningful jobs in this space, and many social entrepreneurs lack the fellow managers and leaders who can help them scale to sustainability.

At this critical time in the evolution of the social enterprise space, it is more critical than ever to attract the best and brightest talent to help innovate, manage and, crucially, scale the social enterprises around the world.

On Purpose helps young professionals realise their aspirations of embarking on a career that allows them to “do well whilst doing good” and in so doing helps secure the future success of the social enterprise space.

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