Millennials key to SA becoming a global pioneer in the Purpose Economy

Internationally recognised social entrepreneur Suzi Sosa has identified attracting and retaining millennials, as a crucial move for South Australia to grow the Purpose Economy.

Ms Sosa, the co-founder and CEO of Verb, a global social enterprise based in Adelaide’s sister city, Austin, Texas, has handed down recommendations as part of her ‘Thinker’ role for the Don Dunstan Foundation’s Adelaide Thinkers in Residence Program.

“There’s a lot of discussion about brain drain of young talented minds out of South Australia,” Ms Sosa says.

“Young people leaving the State shouldn’t be viewed as a problem – in fact, this is a good thing. It’s a problem if they don’t come back or South Australia can’t attract new talent.”

Millennials represent about 40 per cent of the workforce and expect their employers to show greater social responsibility.

“They are having a major impact and demanding strong leadership, mentors, low-cost and attractive living options, as well as access to capital,” Ms Sosa says.

Suzi Sosa’s Pathways to Global Leadership in the Purpose Economy: Recommendations for South Australia include:

  • Millennials are crucial to the Purpose Economy. South Australia needs to stem the millennial brain drain. If South Australia wants to retain its millennial population and attract new talent, it will need to have a more supportive culture and infrastructure for millennials.
  • Further develop Social Entrepreneurship programs alongside the current entrepreneurial ecosystem to offer new employment opportunities that align with millennials’ values and priorities.
  • Universities have a key role to play in supporting industries to understand the needs and values of millennials through more innovative approaches to work-integrated learning.
  • Support more mentoring programs and knowledge exchanges with millennials and industry.
  • Develop a strategy for attracting more millennials to start business in SA, for retaining millennials and for encouraging others to return.

“With the Purpose Economy, the fastest job creating part of the South Australian economy, export opportunities need to be considered where solutions to local challenges have already been identified,” Ms Sosa says.

“It’s important the State works more closely with industries already aligned with social impact such as healthcare, renewable energy, education and the creative industries” she says.

“Also, education providers should be encouraged to strengthen students’ connection to social impact including providing more social entrepreneurship content in the high school curriculum. This will prepare them for a future workforce that will place a much higher premium on purpose.”

South Australia has been trialling a new Entrepreneur Visa program where foreign entrepreneurs and investors can bring their business venture to the State. Under the Federal Government initiative, which will be rolled out nationally in 2019, applicants don’t need capital backing.

Foreign investors will become eligible to apply for permanent residency if their business in Australia is successful.

“Governments need to consider how it can better use incentives, such as financial support and government procurement, to support early stage and purpose-driven business,” Ms Sosa says.

“The Purpose Economy should be declared as a key pillar in the State Government’s economic strategy for South Australia.”

Read the report: Pathways to Global Leadership in the Purpose Economy: Recommendations for South Australia.

The Don Dunstan Foundation has partnered with the university, business, public and community sectors to deliver the Adelaide ‘Thinkers in Residence’ Program which is focusing on growing jobs in the purpose economy.