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OnPurpose: a path to Social Enterprise

onpurposeAIESEC provided members personal and professional development while they were creating a social impact. After finishing university, many alumni struggle to find a career path where they feel fulfilled and can continue to provide social impact.

Constanca Santos, a former MCP, had the same challenges and she shares her experience as well as the opportunities she found with OnPurpose, an organization that provides leadership programs.

“I was MCP of AIESEC in Portugal during the term 2011/2012. At the time, I wasn’t really aware that AIESEC was providing me a unique combination that I would not easily find in the real ‘work place’ – personal development while having a social impact. I used to find myself going for drinks with AIESEC Alumni and there was always one topic that would come up – how disappointing the ‘work place’ was and how we missed having a purpose that would drive us every day. That is why in October 2013 I decided to participate in the On Purpose Associate Programme and moved to London.

OnPurpose is a one year long programme for people who are 4 to 8 years into their career and wish to transition into one where they can use their skills in a more meaningful way – the social enterprise space. Social enterprises are businesses that, just like AIESEC, work to maximise their social impact while being financially sustainable, as they have a product or a service that generates revenue.

During my year at OnPurpose I got to work in two 6 month placements. I started at Marks & Spencer, which is driving the agenda on sustainable businesses (Plan A). I got to work with the sustainability team in the food business unit where I learnt about the challenges that big retailers face in trying to provide sustainable products. My second placement was at UnLtd which is an incubator that provides seed funding to early-stage social start-ups. There I was exposed to the social enterprise sector, not only in the UK but also worldwide.

During that year, I had training every Friday and was allocated a mentor with whom I met every fortnight to discuss work challenges. I also worked with an executive coach throughout the year to work on my future career plans. As you can see, there is a strong focus on personal development, just like we used to in AIESEC through feedback sessions and personal development plans.

On Purpose brought me back that feeling of jumping of my bed looking forward to starting the working day. It not only allowed me to transition into this sector but I now have a large and powerful network in the space too.

Applications are now closed to the London Programme (but still open to the Paris one). However, I know they would still love to hear from you if you would be interested in applying, even if after the deadline. Find more information visit www.onpurpose.uk.com or feel free to email me at