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Millennials and the Social Entrepreneurship Revolution


By Solène Pignet

We have all heard about millennials, also known as Generation Y (Gen Y), or a generation that struggles to fit in the job market (because of the crises which give less job opportunities and, most importantly, because of the value gap with the existing corporate culture).

In this article, I want to share with you why I think Gen Yers are made to become social entrepreneurs.

As you might know, Gen Y has been defined as such as opposed to Generation X -- born between the '60s and the '80s, those post baby-boomers who grew up during the Cold War. More educated than their elders, they are more ambitious too: Competitive and independent, Gen X saw life as a race where you have to go fast and earn a lot of money to be socially considered as successful.

Gen Yers are different. We grew up together with the Internet, large access to affordable travel, the urge of climate change and social disparities disappearance ambition. Conveniently, Gen Y is pronounced as Gen “why” – which makes it even easier to define:

Career equals purpose

The WHY matters more than the how much: We seek for purpose in our career more than just a way of earning money.

Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking 

We like doing things differently and embrace changes rapidly. Actually, change is something we aspire to.  WHY not? Nothing is impossible.


We feel we can benefit from our elders experience as much as they can benefit from our perspectives. Collaboration is thus much preferred to pyramidal organization (yeurk), as it allows everyone to express its creativity and true talent – which is one of the key reason WHY we work.

Have an impact

Another reason WHY we work is making a difference in the long term. Having a game-changing impact is a key motivation, versus short-term individual financial return.

I guess you start wondering WHY did I put “social entrepreneurship” in the title of this article ... Right?

There are many definitions going around the Internet trying to define social entrepreneurship. Basically, social entrepreneurs are tackling social issues (such as health, education, access and equality, peace, poverty alienation, cultural or environmental preservation, etc) using business methods. When “standard” entrepreneurs measures success in financial profit, “social” entrepreneurs much prefers to measure the positive impact on society – while making money at the same time.

I would like to stress that social businesses are not charities. As Muhammad Yunus says so truly, “Charity is no solution […] Most often we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it.” Social entrepreneurship is about finding solutions. A sustainable revolution that will truly change the world.

So, WHY does Generation Y have the ability revolutionize the world through social entrepreneurship?

Career equals purpose

Social entrepreneurship is a great way to align your career with your purpose. Working for a company is most of the time synonymous with contributing to someone else’s purpose and ambition. Social entrepreneurship is not only about being your own boss, it is about fulfilling your life purpose and living meaningful experiences.

Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking

Social entrepreneurship requires leaders to find solutions where others only see problems. Today’s social and environmental challenges may seem insurmountable to many ... but not to Gen Y! We grew up with no more war in west Europe (after non-stop rivalries for centuries), unbelievable medical discoveries, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and gender equality becoming a reality (in some places of the world at least). We believe in positive change, and we believe it won’t come from an “invisible hand” or politicians. We can make it happen.


Social entrepreneurs are constantly making connections, networking, sharing ideas and working in diverse groups. Gen Yers are natural human connectors, both in real life and online. Global networking ability is a key success factor for Gen Yers to spread the word about their game-changing solution and create a truly wide impact with their social venture.

Have an impact

Social entrepreneurship is a fantastic way to have an impact on our society. And not whatever impact: The one you chose and the one you are truly committed to. Social ventures have positive impact without compromising: Social positive impact and environmental long-term preservation are aligned with financial incomes.

If you are a Gen Yer, and recognize yourself in this article, WHY aren't you becoming a social entrepreneur?!

Image credit: Flickr/Aimee Custis Photography

Solène Pignet is the founder of Creators for Good, an online consulting agency guiding global citizen creating their social business. She is passionate about purpose-driven creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, international collaboration and alternative economy.

3p Contributor

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