Social Entrepreneurship Encouraged

Social Entrepreneurship Encouraged


This year, the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) in association with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), will be acting as outreach partners to London Business School in the world’s most prominent social business plan contest, the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC).

Turn your idea into a business

The aim of the competition is to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and prize money to turn their business ideas into real-world projects.

It aims to catalyze new sustainable ventures that address social issues, build awareness of social entrepreneurship and educate future leaders.

Business plans should have social benefits

“In a developing country with as high an unemployment rate as South Africa, it is particularly important that business plans carry social benefit,” says Gregory Macfarlane, MBA student at the GSB.

Macfarlane says that the GSVC educates communities on how to finance their ideas, while at the same time, providing a spark of inspiration to solve the rising youth unemployment rate, income inequality and poverty.

Faced with issues such as these, entrepreneurs have realised the importance of creating sustainable business plans and models that carry a benefit to society.

An example is FoodBank SA, a non-profit organisation that manages to feed 30 000 South Africans a year, and has achieved its success through applying business thinking to its challenges.

However, South Africa has few platforms through which aspiring social entrepreneurs can find funding and showcase their ideas.

Francois Bonnici, director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the GSB, says “Social entrepreneurship requires increasing awareness and education to get more people involved.

“Entrepreneurship is not only crucial in stimulating economic growth and job creation, but plays an important role in determining the future economic outlook of a nation.

“By developing sustainable business ideas into fruition, we can ensure benefit to the broader welfare of the country.”

The competition and its prizes

This year entrant teams from around the world will compete for US$50 000 in prizes while gaining valuable professional feedback on their business plans.

The Global Social Venture Competition takes place over three rounds: an executive summary round, regional finals, and the global finals which take place at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley (USA).

The southern African round

The southern Africa executive summary round is run through the GSB as the outreach partner for the London Business School to:

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Swaziland
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • South Africa.

Documents should be submitted by 16 November 2012.

Shortlisted teams will be notified by 23 November 2012 and invited to pitch their business plans before a panel of social entrepreneurship academics, SMME specialists, venture capital firms, foundations and angel investors.

A final list of five to 10 teams will be submitted to compete for a position in the regional finals at the London Business School in March 2013. These teams will be offered free business plan support and mentorship throughout the process.

For more information on how to enter, please go to or email

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  • Very interesting to me. However Gibbs and the University of Cape Town’s business school do not (in the article at least) provide detail on how interested members of the public can enter the competition and given the short deadline, it would be useful that such information is provided on this platform. How can one gain assistance in this regard?
    Thank you