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Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Bertha Centre

Bertha Centre Scholarships

Bertha Scholarships. Picture: Bev MeldrumBackground to the scholarship

The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship was established as a specialised unit at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) in 2011, in partnership with Bertha Foundation, a family foundation that works with inspiring leaders who are catalysts for social and economic change.

Through this partnership the GSB strengthens its commitment to transformation and equality and UCT’s strategic goal to address key development challenges facing Africa.

While the Bertha Foundation supports activists, storytellers and lawyers across the world, who are working to bring about social and economic justice, and human rights for all; the Bertha Centre Scholars at the GSB are part of a larger Bertha Foundation network of “troublemakers/radical actors” whose purpose it is to challenge the status quo for social justice - in this case through social innovation and entrepreneurship.

What does the scholarship offer?

The Bertha Centre Scholarship covers full or partial costs of a wide variety of programmes at the UCT Graduate School of Business. These include the MBA [both full-time and the modular programme], the MPhil in Inclusive Innovation, and PhD programmes. The scholarship caters for candidates* committed to advancing social justice and pioneering inclusive opportunities through social innovation and entrepreneurship.

* provided they meet the admissions requirements of the university

Should I Apply?

The Bertha Centre scholarships are open to innovators, entrepreneurs, out-of-the-box thinkers, system-entrepreneurs, change-makers, social activists and cross-disciplinary candidates from any field provided they are actively involved in the exploration of social, environmental and/or economic justice using innovative approaches.

Previous Bertha Centre Scholars have done exciting work in pursuit of these issues, engaging in a diverse range of interests. Examples include:

Education innovations to increase access and inclusivity


is the Founder of Pimp-My-Book, an alternative to expensive new textbooks. Today Pimp My Book hosts three stores, three mobile branches and an on-line store covering the major universities in the Western Cape. Pimp My Book’s mission is to find entrepreneurial solutions that contribute to making education more accessible, affordable and enjoyable.

Innovative technologies for inclusive economies

MPhil in Inclusive Innovation

runs a social enterprise, Lumkani, which is looking to mitigate the loss of life and property cause by shack/slum fires in South Africa and across the globe. This organisation is bringing low-cost technology together with simple, effective, community-created solutions, to shift this rampant problem area in South African informal settlements.


MPhil in Inclusive Innovation

is focusing on Research & Development into alternative retail strategies as a shareholder director of The Dermopal Group, with informal trade being one component of that exploration. She is keyed into the growth of African cities and how African entrepreneurs can capture the multiple opportunities that are unfolding.

Innovative finance focusing on social finance and impact investing


PhD Candidate

joined the UCT Graduate School of Business PhD programme and was responsible for coordinating and managing the activities of the Southern African network of PRI signatories, including implementation support for signatories. He was also tasked with raising awareness about PRI and responsible investment amongst institutional investors in Southern Africa as well as the rest of the African continent. In his role, Xolisa represented the PRI on the CRISA committee, The Sustainable Returns for Pensions and Society working committee as well as the ASISA RI standing committee.


is an MBA graduate of the UCT Graduate School of Business, who conducted her research on primary investor sentiment on Social Impact Bonds in South Africa. She is currently the Innovative Finance Programme Coordinator at Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Inclusive healthcare innovation

Clint Maggot


is currently completing the modular MBA programme. He joined us from Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital where he managed and provided psychological services in the Adult Out-patient and Forensic departments. He is exploring the expansion of public sector’s limited patient (peer-led) services. He wants to explore how peer-led services break down traditional (mental) health service norms by dismantling doctor-patient hierarchies and changing their relationship from a dependent to an interdependent one.

ScaleShift to shift underlying power dynamics in systems


is an MBA graduate of the GSB who conducted her research on social purpose organisations, looking at whether their internal values are lived and reflected in the work that they do and how this affects their ability to be inclusive and make change. She is currently working with the Bertha Centre to build their scholarship programme and social justice partnerships.

Zamandlovu Ndlovu

MPhil in Inclusive Innovation

is the Deputy Managing Director at Livity Africa and a scholar on the Mphil programme in Inclusive Innovation. Livity is a social enterprise, which trains young people for employment in the digital sector. She is looking at different business models for scaling up Livity’s social objective of creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods for young people.

Am I eligible?
    If you are an African citizen (or a South African permanent resident for at least one year.)

      If you have:

      1. started or worked with a social/green/entrepreneurial innovative idea that seeks social or economic change; or
      2. if you have worked on advancing social justice and pioneering inclusive opportunities through social innovation within an organisation for at least one year.
      Experience in these fields would be preferable, as well as a track record of action exploring or initiating innovative approaches in these sectors.
          If you can demonstrate strong leadership qualities within your field.
            Finally, you must demonstrate some level of financial need for the scholarship*.

              * We consider any circumstance that would make self-funding the degree programme a significant burden, including previous work experience, personal background or demonstrated commitment to start a social venture.

              PhD Scholarships

              We currently have no PhD scholarships available, due to existing scholars still completing their research. 

              If you are interested, follow these steps to apply
                You must first be eligible, comply with and apply for the MBA or MPhil programmes entrance requirements at the UCT Graduate School of Business*.

                You would then submit the Bertha Centre Scholarship Application Form which should include:
                • Your UCT GSB application number received from the GSB Admissions Office
                • Your contact details and your CV uploaded
                • Your answers to the three essay questions, which shows how the degree programme at this stage in your career will help to accelerate impact in your area of work/interest and how it will contribute to society as a whole.
                • Your short [no longer than four minute] video.
                *For full details about the MBA programme and the MPhil in Inclusive Innovation programme, eligibility, criteria and how to apply click here. 

                Note: You will only be able to take up the Bertha Centre Scholarship if you are successfully admitted to the UCT GSB MBA, MPhil or PhD programmes.

                Your submission will be assessed and the Bertha Centre will contact you only if you have been selected for an interview with the scholarship selection panel.



                Applications open

                1 June 2016

                Application deadline

                31 October 2016

                Scholarship shortlisting (internal committee meeting)

                Middle November 2016

                Shortlisted applicants invited for interview

                End of November 2016


                End of November 2016

                Scholarship committee meeting (internal)

                 Early December 2016

                Scholarships offered

                Middle / End December

                * Please note all dates are subject to change.

                Frequently Asked Questions
                1. Does the scholarship apply to international students not having lived in an African country?
                  Candidates must be South African or African citizens or must have been a permanent resident in South Africa or an African country for at least one year prior to applying.
                2. Does the scholarship apply to an MBA at any other university?
                  The scholarship only applies to the MBA, MPhil or PhD studies at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.
                3. Would the scholarship be available to Modular MBA students as well?
                  Yes, it will be.
                4. I have completed the online scholarship application; do you need anything else from me?
                  You will need to complete the UCT GSB MBA or MPhil application process to be admitted onto the programme. This is a separate application to the Bertha Centre’s scholarship application process and is a requirement. Please see UCT GSB application processes here.
                5. What supporting documents do I need to send with my application?
                  Applicants must supply the following documents:
                    • Your UCT GSB student registration number.
                    • A cover letter/motivational letter.
                    • A copy of your CV.
                    • Your short video


                      Bertha Centre


                      Tel:  +27 (0)21 406 1524 / 1514