Older than 30: social impact sleeper?


Reading through many articles that talk about social entrepreneurship and social change there is one thing that is obvious: social change and social entrepreneurship are often connected to young people. Competitions are designed and often open to students/people below 30 only, universities see the high potential of change in the young generation. You are young, you are creative? Then come in and join.

That’s fine, do not get me wrong. I think we can be proud of a young generation that has this kind of mindset. Young people are often willing to try out and take the risk of new business models. The growing number of courses, conferences and opportunities to learn about social entrepreneurship are a fantastic way to connect, inform and start social initiatives.

Older than 30? Uuh, a social impact sleeper?
But what about the other generations? The older ones? They are really not creative enough, no risk takers? Used to earn too much money and just willing to build their houses?
A fourty year old lady told me that she’d love to learn about social entrepreneurship, to find out where she could start from and it did not take much time to develop a first idea … Another woman in the fifties mentioned that she has enough time and could also live with less money than in the years before, if she could find just more sense in what she is doing in her daily job. Her children have grown up, but she would like to try out something new – with more sense. But she did not know about social enterprises and how to start…. Retirees are active and are organizing incredible things: setting up PTA schools in Africa, financing it with optimized ways for the farmers to sell coffee, adding health insurance systems – based on a large experience of how to do business. Others organize food distribution circles and add cultural events, financing it via specific travel offers and using a huge net network of business connection they gained over many years. And there is a couple in the late thirties with a ten year old child that is highly engaged in setting up small social enterprises in Brazil that make people healthier – cross financing with activities in Europe…

Why there are so few articles and social entrepreneurship activities targeting these generations? Why not aiming to involve these people who bring in a lot of experience and network? Where are the call-to-actions to these generations?
Change needs power, scale up and sometimes also life experience.

Age and social impact
It seems that social entrepreneurship could become stronger, if it embraced more generations. Do we maybe have a problem to connect social change to generations that did not make it in the last 40, 50 years? Don’t we trust them anymore that they are capable to make a difference?

We should review our perception of social impact potential in relation to generations. There are many people who can help to change the world. Not just the youngsters. My wish for the next years: Let’s talk to all of them.

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