14 December 2017
"The UCT Graduate School of Business and the Bertha Foundation would like to thank the outgoing director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Dr François Bonnici, for his dedicated work in establishing what is now one of the leading centres for social innovation in the world. François will be stepping down as director of the Centre in April 2018, which will mark the end of his seven-year tenure.
The Bertha Centre was established in 2011 as a partnership between the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) and the Bertha Foundation. The work of the Centre over the past six years has made a key contribution to the ongoing mission of the GSB to become a more relevant business school in Africa, with excellence at its core.
François and the Bertha Centre team have made an indelible impact on the GSB. They have helped introduce social innovation into the core identity and curriculum of the school, and explicitly extended the scope of management education and research into areas of social purpose. During his tenure, students motivated by a social mission have been attracted to study at the GSB, enriching the classroom experience for all. Our learning spaces have also been expanded to a broader community of students and practitioners through the creation of the Solution Space on our Waterfront campus and in Philippi - the university's first campus in a township community. Furthermore, the Centre has been instrumental in building the fields of social innovation, social entrepreneurship, innovative finance and impact investing in Africa, positioning the school as part of a new wave of thinking and action to realise new possibilities for the continent.
We are grateful for the role François has played as the founding director in laying the groundwork of the Bertha Centre, which has delivered on the original mandate of the partnership agreement between the UCT GSB and the Bertha Foundation. This strong foundation now creates the opportunity for new leadership to take the Centre to new heights. Furthermore, as a Centre concerned with issues of inclusiveness and social impact at a time of significant changes at UCT, in higher education, and in the country, we believe that the Centre would benefit from the perspectives of a transformed and diverse leadership in its next phase. He has also committed to playing his part in the handover and transition in 2018 while on sabbatical. Read Francois Bonnici's farewell letter here.
This is therefore an opportune time for us to review and update the mandate and relevance of the Bertha Centre, within the context of a new strategy for the GSB, and outline the key objectives for the years to come. We will begin recruitment for the new director early in 2018 and we look forward to interacting with our stakeholders and alumni during this process."
Assoc Prof Mills Soko, Director, UCT Graduate School of Business
Laura Horwitz, CEO, Bertha Foundation