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Next Gen Entrepreneurs Shaping the Economy [YOYP]

The next generation of entrepreneurs are changing our approach to business. Rather than being an afterthought, their purpose is at the forefront – an integral part of how they do business.

While attending the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) this month, our team were inspired by the number of passionate and ambitious entrepreneurs from all over the world – particularly young people. Despite a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures, we were all united in a common goal – to use business as a force for good and make society a better place.

While these entrepreneurs may have had different business models to achieve different outcomes, they were all driven by their purpose – emphasising the shift from profit-first to purpose-first.

A key highlight from the SEWF was undoubtedly the presentations from those involved with Social Enterprise Academy’s Social Enterprise in Education programme in Scottish schools. These young entrepreneurs – some still at primary school – passionately discussed their thoughts on how social enterprise is simply a natural way of doing business.

There could be no better example of the Scottish Government’s vision for social enterprise:
SG's Vision for Social Enterprise - Blog

One young enterprise which we have seen growing in profile this year is BRO Enterprises. Created and run by the students of Broughton High School, BRO tackles social isolation by creating a safe place where all are welcome from their school community. Having heard about BRO’s story and successes at the Social Enterprise Academy’s Education Awards earlier this year, we (and our taste buds) were delighted to see them selling their brownies at the SEWF this month.

The SEWF also gave stage to Victor Adebowale, chair of SEUK, who cited Deloitte’s Millennial survey to suggest how a new “millennial way of business” is shaping the economy. The survey states that there has been a significant drop in millennials’ view of traditional businesses’ motivations and ethics, with only 47% of millennials saying that business behave ethically (Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018). Having greater awareness of the concept of social enterprise from a younger age will only accelerate the transition to social by default.

With 20% of the inaugural Unlocking Ambition cohort being social enterprises, it is evident that social and environmental impact is achieving a growing acknowledgement in society. While Scotland has a rising number of social entrepreneurs, it is likely that there will be much to learn from next year’s SEWF host, Ethiopia. It is estimated that there are 55,000 social enterprises in Ethiopia, with 48% of them being led by under 30-year olds (British Council, 2017).

Our lasting impression from the SEWF was the challenge of how we listen to the voices and aspirations of the next generation of entrepreneurs, the voices that are shaping the direction of our economy and society, to make sure our investment and support is aligned with their ambition. Pretty exciting if you ask us.