The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has launched the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The Bertha Centre, a collaboration between the Bertha Foundation (a foundation committed to creating social impact through leadership) and the UCT GSB, aims to instill the values of social upliftment and environmental awareness in entrepreneurs. The Centre will offer MBA students the chance to make a real social impact. "This helps them to create businesses relevant to the context in which they work, rather than just focusing on profit rendering," says Director of the Bertha Centre, Francois Bonnici. The importance of developing social awareness in business will be infused into every course at the business school.
"Currently we live in an emerging economy, and sustainable businesses that serve society are needed," says Bonnici. "The Bertha Centre will allow entrepreneurs to formulate ways of dealing with the economic, social and environmental challenges we face as part of this economy and will also address the question of how to include these challenges in the growth path of a business. These future leaders will look at novel ways of doing inclusive business that creates jobs for marginalised people and addresses environmental issues."
The centre will allow students to work on real social and environmental issues and develop business models offering sustainable and scalable solutions. Students will also be able to work directly with social entrepreneurs which will generate and ideas and debate. "At the moment our economy is moving towards more inequality. If we continue doing business as usual we'll end up in a worse situation than we are in now," says Bonnici. "Our focus is highlighting social and environmental issues that are core to business and helping students develop the capabilities to understand these issues in a bid to improve this situation and create an inclusive economy."