Entrepreneurship is all the rage these days.
You’ve probably noticed the rising trend of people throwing off the shackles of corporate America to launch their own ventures. Millennials especially are known to be a very entrepreneurial generation who weathered the Great Recession to start their own businesses in greater numbers than ever before seen.
While this energy is a good thing, it can cause people to jump into entrepreneurship for the wrong reasons. Entrepreneurship is an exhilarating ride, but it’s also a one packed with uncertainty and risk.
What if there were a third way? A way that combined the stability of a J-O-B with the thrill of entrepreneurship? Turns out there is, and it’s called intrapreneurship.
Intrapreneurship is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working in a large organization. Companies are becoming more and more amenable to creating positions that are tasked with creating “startup” ventures under the umbrella of the company. Intrapreneurship opportunities are especially growing in the area of social intrapreneurship.
Much like their social entrepreneur counterparts, social intrapreneurs can be found at companies all over the U.S. They manage such programs as sustainability initiatives, paid employee volunteering programs and more.
If you’re itching to work with more independence but don’t want to jump out on your own, social intrapreneurship could be just the ticket. Here’s how:
Help your company create a social good program
Millennials prefer cause-based products, are willing to pay more for them and demonstrate strong brand loyalty to companies who weave social good into their stories. Traditional companies know this and are responding by creating new initiatives to reach millennial customers.
Because of this, the chances are strong that your company would be open to you leading a cause-based initiative targeting millennials. For example, you could help rebrand a line of products so they highlighted a social mission (e.g. 10 percent of sales go back to a charitable cause).
If your company isn’t into social intrapreneurship, it may be time to jump ship
Here are some options:
- B Corps Jobs Board – B Corps Certification is the ‘certified organic’ seal for social good companies. Their job board is one of the most comprehensive lists available to the aspiring social intrapreneur.
- Mashable’s list of social good job boards – This article links to 11 different social good job boards. Check it out to see what intrapreneurship opportunities might be out there for you.
- Search for social intrapreneurship opportunities via job title. Popular keyword searches include corporate social responsibility, impact investing, cause marketing, cause branding, employee volunteering and corporate sustainability
Contract your way into intrapreneurship
This one requires some outside-the-box thinking, but the reality is that many jobs today are contract- or contingency-based.
Use this to your advantage to find one or more short-term contracts performing a specific service for a company. For example, you might pitch a contract with a company to help them build out an employee volunteering program. If the launch is successful, there’s a good chance they could keep you on as resident social intrapreneur!
Work for a hybrid non-profit
A hybrid non-profit is an organization that has non-profit status but engages in a revenue-generating activity. One of the best-known examples of this is Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. Kiva Zip is another exciting example that recently launched. Non-profits like this are generally very open to employees who want to spearhead new initiatives, so they can be great places for your intrapreneurial bud to flower.
As more and more people start demanding that businesses adhere to “corporate social responsibility,” the opportunities for social intrapreneurship will continue to grow. If you desire the adventure of social entrepreneurship without all the risks associated with it, then social intrapreneurship could be a great option.
Josh is the founder of Social Change Nation, whose mission and passion is to provide startup social entrepreneurs with the best possible resources and tools for growing their ventures. He hosts a podcast featuring interviews with the world’s leading change agents and creates online content to help startups make a dollar AND a difference. Check out more of Josh’s writing here.