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Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
‘Business for better’ centre launched
Wed, 16 Nov 2011 09:06
The University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business (GSB) launched the new Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at a gala dinner at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last night.
The launch formed part of the GSB’s three-day Business of Social and Environmental Innovation conference that brought together international award winning researchers to share their findings on a range of related topics.
The centre, which is a collaboration between the Bertha Foundation and the GSB, was officially opened by the centre Director Francois Bonnici. Bonnici said that the new centre will drive research into social innovation and entrepreneurship and will support a full semester social innovation lab on the MBA.
“The aim is to instil contemporary business values and skills in managers and students, in the hope of influencing business towards solving some of society’s toughest challenges,” said Bonnici.
Furthermore, the centre will run an outreach programme training students in social entrepreneurship, which will form part of the classic MBA in an effort to motivating “business for better”.
“This centre is not a place for the same old courses on ethics or sustainability. Instead, the focus will be on encouraging MBA students to fully realise projects and business ideas that make a real positive impact on society. They will have access to communities and to mentors to build on their ideas and create companies,” said Director of the GSB, Professor Walter Baets.
The classic MBA will not be replaced in any way by the establishment of the new centre. The school aims to continue catering for those students looking for the traditional MBA, “but there will be an unavoidable added facet – they will graduate with a social conscience,” said Baets.
Lara Tabatznik, president and founder of the Bertha Foundation Philanthropies, said: “We hope to inspire and grow a social conscience in tomorrow’s business leaders.”
The Bertha Foundation's Lisa Kropman echoed this goal. “It is our hope that the new centre will provide a focused platform for the GSB, Cape Town and South Africa, to bring to life innovative and sustainable ways to address the deep inequalities of emerging economies. We believe that given this focus in the context of a world-class business school, creative, market-based solutions to these challenges will emerge and find support.”