_SocialStarters, a UK based career-break organisation who provide pro bono assignments at social enterprises around the world, have announced a new 2-Week Consultancy Assignment package for people who work specifically in the professional services industries. Consultants from across the UK, across backgrounds such as strategy, finance or technology, are eligible to apply.
Consulting is hard work, involves long hours and often involves working with big corporations who care predominantly about their bottom line. It can, according to many, be rewarding work but often consultants complain it's hard to see the outcome of the impact they are making. Employees are therefore increasingly seeking firms who offer a solid global citizenship or social responsibility programme that gives them opportunities to connect with non-profit work; however these schemes are competitive and not always available at a time that's convenient for the consultant.
Matching consultants with social impact
This is where _SocialStarters step in, says Andrea Gamson, co-founder of the career-break organisation. Over the past two years _SocialStarters has helped match over 120 'Social Impact Consultants' with meaningful projects and socially impactful start-ups around the world. Projects span the social and environmental impact space, and can range from tackling issues around health, women's development, gender inequality, environment or education. Work can be focused on strategic support, such as the development of business models, or the redesign of systems and processes. It can also involve new marketing strategies or customer and product development.
Paul Goff, former supply chain consultant from Deloitte and Innocent Drinks who left the UK to go travelling in 2015, worked alongside tech-health social enterprise vRemind in Hyderabad, India with _SocialStarters. He is now permanently based in Hong Kong as a Business Transformation and Operations specialist. His work with vRemind involved business strategy, commercial operations and partnerships and now Paul is on vRemind's advisory board. “I learnt more than I ever could have imagined on topics such as social enterprise, lean start-ups and the local market. It's been a fully rounded and immersive experience.”
Linda Coyle, an investment and business development advisor from Ireland did an assignment in Hyderabad in June 2016 with car-pooling start-up RideIT. Reflecitng on her experience, she says, “When I saw the advert for an assignment to work as an Investment Advisor with a startup in Hyderabad, India, I jumped at the opportunity. My current contract was finishing, I had a verbal offer for a new job which didn’t look like it was going to materialise for a few months. I had done similar work with startups here in the UK. Plus I had never been to India.”
Her work involved writing a business plan, capturing a marketing plan, going through financial projections in detail, amending the firm’s investor pitch, contacting as many VC funds, seed funds and business angels and sharing the pitch, as well as supporting with a range of other project management tasks. “I really enjoyed working with them..... a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget.”
2-Week Consultancy Assignment
While consultants may be put off by the logistics required to organise a trip like this, to find a client, to scope out the potential of work involved and then deliver, with the temptations and distractions that come with being somewhere exotic, in a short timeframe to boot, _SocialStarters package everything up into a one-stop shop 2-week programme format. “The format is aimed to give consultants time to rest and play as well as deliver good quality work”, says Gamson.
“The programme fee is designed to make everything easy for the consultant and includes accommodation, 1-2-1 support, client needs assessments, as well as client and consultant matching. We provide a guide to the local area, and prepare everyone ahead of travel so they can understand more about the scope of the brief and learn more about their client. Tips on where to eat and what cultural things to see are also included.”
Andrea also adds that the 2-Week Consultancy Assignment has been designed with busy consultants in mind. “This isn't about quitting your job and going travelling around the world to find meaning in your life” she told Consultancy.uk, “it's about a thrilling and incredibly unique 2-week adventure – using a socially impactful consultancy assignment as the conduit to do something so utterly different from your usual vacation. We provide a means to immerse into a new culture, discover an exotic new place and spend time supporting people who really do need specialist expertise to enable them to sustainably change the world.”
_SocialStarters tends to attract consultants who are passionate about entrepreneurship. “Maybe they want to work more in social entrepreneurship, but ultimately they simply just want to make a positive contribution in the world, network, and have a unique skill-sharing travel adventure”, comments Gamson.
More information on the 2-Week Consultancy Assignment is available on the website of _SocialStarters.