How Millennials Are Transforming Social Causes Into Business Opportunities

by Conor Matchett

In the world of social entrepreneurialism, changes in technology and social media have been a big boon. But the impact of Millennials entering the field has been the biggest boon of all.

Millennials now make up over one-third of the workforce, which means they are the largest individual segment in the market. Changes in the field of social entrepreneurialism are already taking place as a result.

Millennials, more dedicated to a work life that gives them meaning than previous generations, are more naturally drawn to social entrepreneurialism with a general desire of making the world a better place.

"I think both as a product of technology and of their immense talent, Millennials have tremendous options. If they aren't happy in their roles or if their skills are not being fully utilized, this generation is particularly savvy in its ability to pivot and seek out new opportunities," said Baltimore Corps CEO Fagan Harris.

"Millennials are more active in seeking out work that is highly meaningful to them, and that often translates to cause-driven work."

Jadon Barnes

In an interview with Conscious Company Magazine, entrepreneur Radha Agrawal described the Millennial mindset of what they seek from work. "If I were to draw a Venn diagram, there'd be three circles: One circle would say community, one circle would say wellness and one circle would say fun," Agrawal said.

Companies that want to take advantage of this Millennial desire for self-satisfaction from their employment need to refocus their efforts on reaching out to Millennials, and companies that want to reach out to the growing consumer body of Millennials are dipping their toes in activism if only to attract the Millennial crowd, as well.

In addition, the instant-gratification attitude of Millennials often produces a get-it-done attitude that coincides well with entrepreneurialism, making them excellent candidates with sufficient motivation for change and the drive to try and achieve it.

Millennials are fans of collaboration, which means they desire in some way to work with others to produce results, even if they're the target.

"Companies that understand this and figure out ways to engage in this co-creation relationship with Millennials will have an edge," said entrepreneur Jason Haber. This is a willing and available force of people with similar goals of improving the world, and taking advantage of it can be a huge boon to activist organizations.

Olu Eletu

This new generation is also interested in moving beyond money to achieve social gains, having been disillusioned by historical promises of influxes of cash making everything better. Instead, they're interested in revolutionary solutions and ideas that throw away old playbooks, and they're willing to campaign for these new solutions to get people on board.

The active presence Millennials have on social media "is a two-way street, enabling information to become more accessible while bringing together millions of other Millennials," Haber said.

Companies looking to engage Millennials must prioritize social media to reach out, build communities and encourage activism.

"I think the future of entrepreneurship is social entrepreneurship," said Miki Agrawal to Conscious Company Magazine. "I think all businesses will have to be conscious businesses. I just joined the Conscious Capitalism board as one of 18 members. The whole idea is that business will elevate humanity — not philanthropy, not charity, not corporate social responsibility, but conscious business. I think businesses in the future won't thrive unless they have a mission."

The Agrawal sisters are just one example of Millennial social entrepreneurs, and they see the future of business as moving towards what all Millennials seek: a socially conscious mission and purpose.

Citations: Pew Research, Business Insider, Case Foundation