Tom Rippin is the founder of On Purpose, the leadership programme for high-calibre professionals who want to start a career in social enterprise.
On Purpose is a one-year, full time, paid programme that combines work experience with training and lots of 1:1 support. If you're interested in escaping to social enterprise, do be in touch: email@example.com.
Tom is the founder of an exciting social enterprise leadership programme called http://www.onpurpose.uk.com/" rel="nofollow">On Purpose. He is an ex-McKinsey management consultant who kept the 'I'll only do this for a few years and then do something else' promise. Definitely worth getting in touch with Tom if you're interested in learning more.
I have launched up an organisation called http://www.onpurpose.uk.com/" rel="nofollow">On Purpose that is a 1 year leadership programme for young, high-flying professionals, with several years of work experience, who want to work in the social enterprise/social business space.
Our "Associates" do two 6-month full time placements in purpose-driven, commercial organisations and go through a "mini social enterprise MBA" on Friday afternoons delivered by people from Bain and Freshfields to The Big Issue and Venturesome.
On a day-to-day basis this consists of a whole bunch of stuff from organising training, helping the the Associates, admin - basically everything it takes to run an organisation. Oh, and on a night-to-night basis there a lot of networking involved!
After a post-grad in cancer research, I went to McKinsey for 5 years (management consulting); I left there in 2007 and worked first at Comic Relief (advising the CEO on things related to the private sector) and then ran (RED) in Europe for a little while (the organisation set up by Bono that generates money to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa).
I went into consulting thinking it would only be for a couple of years, but then almost stayed for good. At McKinsey I realised that what really got me going was using commercial dynamics for social good.
Moment of truth: When I realised that I (and others) could use their commercial skills for social good and that this has the potential for a lot more impact than the the more traditional charity approach.
At another level, the crunch point came when I left my job and more importantly my source of income at (RED) last August.
I had done a lot of networking, trying out my idea on people and also getting some preliminary support. I had also saved up some money - although I hadn't envisaged that I would be using it to fund my startup!
We're currently still looking for funding support ... to kick off the pilot I was awarded a Level 1 grant from UnLtd (£3k) but other than that I'm lucky enough to be able to live off savings for a while until we hopefully raise some grants and start generating some of our income. If anyone has any contacts, let me know! :-)
Toughest: Getting people to invest in talent: Convincing 5 social enterprises last year to take on an Associate and pay them without http://www.onpurpose.uk.com/" rel="nofollow">On Purpose having a track record and without the social enterprises meeting the prospective Associates was tough. We got though there and next year will be easier (famous last words!). Also finding the people who will put money behind On Purpose core costs is a tough task.
Best: I love working with the Associates (which I do every week on an individual basis) to help them be successful in their placements. Seeing them learn and apply, for example, what we have covered in the training course is really satisfying. Even better is then hearing from the placements about how great the work is that the Associates are delivering, what great individuals they are and that they are hoping to take part again next year.
You have a responsibility to have an opinion.
Give it a try: hang out with some people or some organisations that you think are doing cool things. That way you can inch closer to the brink and soon it won't feel like quite such a big step anymore. And keep on pressing on.
People - friends, contacts, contacts of contacts and that person you met at an event last week. It's amazing how willing to help lots of people are!