Leigh Morgan of Seattle is a global executive currently serving as Chief Strategy and Operating Officer at Nia Tero Foundation. As someone who has dedicated her career to leading and scaling high-performing, purpose based organizations, social enterprise is of keen interest to Leigh Morgan, and below she shares some of the major stories making headlines related to this field.
Social enterprises are on the rise as businesses are receiving a big push from consumers and communities to make their operations more sustainable for the future of the planet and society. Leigh Morgan reports that consumers and employees both expect companies to promote inclusion and promote sustainable resources as much as possible. Major players across all sectors are increasingly looking for ways to do well by society while still returning a reasonable profit for stakeholders.
Here are some of the ways social enterprises are pursuing the opportunity to create social value.
Auticon and its Global Impact on Autism Awareness
Auticon UK is a business that provides IT consulting services, operating in nine countries and employing over 250 professional consultants who fall on the autism spectrum. Leigh Morgan explains that the main focus of the company is to improve employment options for autistic adults across the globe.
Auticon UK won the International Impact Award at the UK Social Enterprise Awards in 2021 for their efforts to help raise the percentage of autistic adults who can find a job in the UK. Their approach to business emphasizes the strengths of each individual rather than forcing employees to fit into an expected mold.
Leigh Morgan of Seattle says that Auticon’s global enterprise has helped employees build their skills and gain self-confidence. Employees work in an environment that encourages them to showcase their strengths. Each individual has the support of a job coach who ensures they have the resources to reach their full potential.
Creating inclusive workspaces helps tap into a more accessible market for individuals who have a lot to offer the workforce. Auticon is one of the businesses that is leading the way for neurodiverse inclusion in workspaces across the globe.
How a Comic Book Introduces Young Girls to Cybersecurity and STEM
Leigh Morgan reports that a team of educators and researchers in educational technology and STEM education worked together to create a free online comic called CryptoComics. CryptoComics was created to teach elementary-aged students– especially girls of color– about cybersecurity and cryptology.
The objective of the curriculum is to spark the interest of young girls in careers in cybersecurity and STEM fields. The comics feature female cybersecurity professionals to provide broader representation for young girls interested in the field. Children work together to solve puzzles and break codes, creating a sense of community in classroom settings.
Leigh Morgan explains that the skills they learn together deciphering messages through the game’s missions can be transferred to other real-world situations. The curriculum also features narration and audio to support students who have a more challenging time reading. Combining visual and audio media makes the curriculum more accessible to students with different needs and disabilities.
The push for inclusive media like CryptoComics helps young girls find the representation they need to feel confident pursuing the career of their dreams. We expect CryptoComics to gain popularity as more parents, educators, and school district officials create more opportunities for STEM enrichment.
Business Schools See a Rise in ESG Centered Programs
More people are interested in attaining jobs focused on environmental, social, and governance issues, forcing universities to adjust their curriculums to meet the demand. Leigh Morgan of Seattle reports that MBA programs are adjusting what material they include in their courses to meet the needs of students and future recruiters.
Courses like climate financing, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship have taken over previous courses that covered game theory and mergers, as business majors continue to prioritize social impact in their practices. As a member of Duke’s Fuqua Business School and its Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), she’s witnessed first-hand the program’s dramatic increase in student participation in recent years. The program offers award-winning elective courses related to social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and impact investing, and practicum opportunities for students to engage in real-world social impact work. Leigh Morgan says that steady enrollment in these courses proves a long-anticipated generational shift away from infrastructure entrepreneurship and instead towards social enterprise among millennials and Generation Z.
Companies are more interested in hiring workers and creating partnerships with those with a background in ESG to understand how to finance renewable energy projects while facing the risks of climate change. Students who take courses focused on ESG know more about sustainability and equality, positively altering the way future businesses are operated. We anticipate this generation of students will improve eco-friendly initiatives with their future employers.
A Step in the Right Direction
Social enterprises help change the world for the better by reinvesting and donating profits to global foundations and their local community. Leigh Morgan of Seattle explains that they help people of all ages and identities access the resources they need for education and employment for a better future.
As you can see, even just this small number of social enterprises have helped tackle social problems and improve the lives of the students and employees who will continue to help support the cause in the future. We can anticipate that social enterprises will only continue to grow as today’s students graduate with unique and exciting degrees and become employed at today’s biggest companies.