San Francisco is renowned for many things: Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, a buzzing night scene and an exciting cohort of startups, changing the world for the better.
Ahead of the WeWork Creator Awards, we’re celebrating San Francisco as a city of innovative social enterprise and exploring all the reasons why you should work for one of these amazing companies.
More than a 9-5
The future of work is upon us and with it a sentiment that people want more than a standard corporate job. More than ever, candidates are looking to make an impact in their roles and make a positive difference in the world. For Millennials and Centennials in particular, it’s purpose -not pay or accolades- that attract them to a company or role. And what better place than a social enterprise to affect some change!
As well as securing yourself some positive karma, working for a social enterprise affords you the opportunity to take on multiple roles and responsibilities. You’re not boxed into a specific title and task list, you’re free to explore your strengths and figure out what you’re best suited to. You grow and evolve as the company does and it leads to high levels of job satisfaction. Clocking your hours and cutting a paycheck isn’t an option in a social enterprise, each team member is an integral part of the operation.
The profile of people working in social enterprises tends to be more diverse then the make up of your regular tech startup. Globally, the breakdown by gender of social entrepreneurs is 55% male, 45% female. This is much smaller than the leadership gap in commercial businesses. Gender aside, community driven companies enjoy exposure to a greater number of people from different socio economic, educational and cultural backgrounds, fused by a common goal or mission.
La Cocina, for example, is an organisation that helps food entrepreneurs scale their businesses. Since 2015 their community has compromised of 60% immigrants and 91% people of colour.
This has multiple benefits for your personal and professional development as you’re exposed to new perspectives and experiences. Social initiatives also tend to have more cohesive teams as everyone is united in their shared goal.
Startups by their nature have limited resources. As such they’re always having to come up with new ways to do more with less. For social enterprises this is even more prominent. Whether it’s finding a way to make the budget go further or employee hours cover more, working for a community driven organisation helps you find some pretty innovative ways of working. You don’t just become a champion of your company but of the issue you’re trying to solve and that really brings out the creative in you.
San Francisco based initiative, New Story, builds homes for people living in slums and unsafe conditions. They leverage local insights in communities in Haiti and El Salvador to help them reach more innovative solutions and glean a better understanding of the needs of these populations.
Working in a social enterprise requires a thick skin, there’s many failures on the road to success and when you’re so passionate about the value of your business, you can take these setbacks quite personally. However, these failures or setbacks help shape you and build resilience as both an employee and a person. You learn to accept rejection gracefully, to move on from the negatives and get better at making tough decisions.