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Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Bertha Centre

Student Social Venture Programme

The SSVP was established by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship in response to the relative paucity of African teams at global social business plan competitions, and the lack of technical, financial and institutional support and sponsorship at their disposal.

By supporting social ventures in Africa, the SSVP aims to improve the participation and performance of these teams in international social business plan competitions such as the Global Social Venture Competition and the Hult Prize.

As part of the SSVP, high potential teams are provided with the necessary support with a view to connect ideas and business skills to produce more scalable and robust social ventures that have the ability to create significant social change in the global context.

In 2016, eligible social ventures will be put forward to participate in the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC). The GSVC is an international competition for students that have innovative ideas for businesses with a social impact. The Bertha Centre is a regional partner of the GSVC, representing Africa in partnership with Tsavo Innovation Labs (Nairobi, Kenya) and Lagos Business School (Lagos, Nigeria). The top student ventures that are successful in the regional Africa round will be sponsored to compete in the global finals, hosted by UC Berkely Haas School of Business in April 2017.

Previous Finalists

  1. Lakheni (2014) is a start up social enterprise which uses a mobile group buying application to harness the aggregated buying power of communities in order to give them access to discounted staple foods.
  2. Lumkani (2013) they won the People’s Choice award at the GSVC Final. Lumkani is a proactive early-warning heat detection system. It uses innovative technology to warn people of a fire before it grows to out of hand or spreads to neighbouring homes.
  3. The Reel Gardening Company (2012) is a biodegradable colour coded paper tape that encases organic fertiliser and seeds at the correct depth and distance apart. It is a convenient way to package seeds that ensures germination and reduces the amount of water used in the germination phase by 80%, encouraging food gardens at schools and homes across the world. Through the SSVP, Reel Gardening also reached the Global Finals of the 2013 Hult Prize which was a challenge set to solve the global food crisis by former US President Bill Clinton. The team presented at the Clinton Global Initiative in front of Prof Muhammad Yunus and others.

Key Steps in Applying to SSVP

Applications closing date: 5th December 2016

Your application must include:
  • Executive summary (3 pages)
  • Summary of 10+ stakeholder interviews
  • Team resumes/bios
Key dates:
Applications screening period: 5th– 18th December 2016
Shortlist Announced: 19th December 2016
Regional Semifinals (GSVC): February/March 2017 (Date TBC)
Global Finals (GSVC): 5th – 7th April 2017


Eligibility Requirements for GSVC:
  • Submitted ventures should aim to be: financially sustainable or profitable; whether it is a for-profit, non-profit, or hybrid business model, your venture must aim to be self-sufficient on earned revenue.
  • Submitted ventures should be scalable long term. This criterion will mean different things for each business. Scalability will take into account the potential for growth of the business, both financially and in its social impact.
  • Submitted ventures must have a quantifiable social and/or environmental bottom line incorporated into their mission and practices.
  • Your entry must include a financial analysis as well as a Social Impact Assessment (SIA), including the Social Value Proposition and Social Indicators. Learn more on the SIA page of the GSVC website.
  • Submitted ventures must be less than 2 years old (with the start of the venture marked by incorporation or first income, whichever occurred first) as of December 31, 2016.
  • Submitted ventures may not be a wholly owned subsidiary of an existing entity (of either a for-profit or nonprofit entity).
  • Submitted ventures must not have received more than $250,000 in funding from venture capital, private investors, grants (government or foundation), loans, or other funding sources (excluding in-kind) as of December 31, 2016.
  • Lifetime revenue should not exceed $500,000 as of December 31, 2016.
  • GSVC has the right to investigate funding and qualifications of ventures to assure that they are truly early stage.

Team Eligibility

  • Each entrant team must include at least one current or recently graduated* student from any level of higher education (undergraduate, masters level/graduate, or doctoral) from any African university / institution. Team members must be African citizens.
  • *Recent students must meet the following:
  • Recent Bachelor’s degree holders must have completed their degree with four (4) years of the application deadline (December 31, 2016).
  • Recent Master’s or Doctoral level degree holders must have completed their degree within two (2) years of the application deadline (December 31, 2016).
  • The student or recently graduated student team member must be actively involved in the venture (i.e. actively participating in development of the business or actively working in the business.)
  • Your team should include a statement describing the student’s level of involvement.
  • The student or recent student must be one of the team presenters and must be available to answer the judges questions regarding the business in the final two rounds of the competition.
  • Teams are strongly encouraged to include seasoned entrepreneurs with relevant skills and experience.

Executive Summary Instructions

Applications closing date: 5th December 2016

By December 5th, all teams must submit their initial deliverables:
  • Executive summary (3 pages)
  • Summary of 10+ stakeholde interviews
  • Team resumes/bios
Executive summaries should cover:
  • Social venture overview
  • Value proposition (Problem and Solution)
  • Social Impact
  • Market
  • Competitive advantage
  • Revenue model
  • Go-to-market strategy
  • Stakeholders
  • Team
  • Track record and next steps
  • Financial model and 5-year projections

Download the Executive Summary Template
Stakeholder Interviews
Understand the opportunity and test your concept by interviewing at least 10 existing or potential stakeholders, including customers, partners, and industry experts.
Download the Stakeholder Interviews Template
Team Resumes / Bios
For each member, list his/her current role and provide a brief bio that highlights relevant experience, skills, and expertise.
Download the Team Bio Template

Deliverables should be grouped together in Adobe PDF file format (preferred) or Microsoft Word compatible text documents with the following file name: “TeamName_GSVC2017_Round1.” The team name should appear on each page of each deliverable.
Shortlisted teams will be notified by the 19th December 2016 and invited to pitch their business plans before a panel of social entrepreneurship academics, SMME specialists, venture capital firms and angel investors. Through this process, a final list of teams will be selected to take part in the GSVC regional semifinals to take place in February/March 2017.

Other Qualifications

  • A team cannot enter the competition more than twice.
  • Teams that have competed at the Global Finals may not enter more than once; Regional Partners may put additional limits on the number of times that a team may compete at the regional level.
  • All submissions and presentations for the Global Finals round must be in English. Questions from the judges during the Global Finals may be translated from English to the team’s native language, but should be answered in English.

Sponsors and Partners

The SSVP is supported by the Bertha Centre Foundation.

Our Partners:
The Africa Round of GVSC is brought to you by the Bertha Centre in partnership with Tsavo Innovation Labs and Lagos Business School.


For more information, contact Bame Modungwa: