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Build a community of practice in the field of systems change

Network with local and global change-makers

Systems Change and Social Impact is a specialised short course, convened by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT GSB, designed to give public officials, leaders of social enterprises, founders and funders exposure to the most recent developments in the field of systems change.

This interactive five-day course equips participants with the tools and frameworks to navigate complexity and strengthen their capacity for transformative leadership and collaboration. The course promotes local and global networking amongst change-makers and provides a unique community of practice that will serve participants far beyond the duration of the course.


12 - 16 October 2020


12 September 2020


R17 500

Bulk discounts and early bird specials available


Systems Change is the deliberate attempt to address social and ecological problems at the level of the system that causes them. Rather than assume to fix a problem in isolation, systems change acts to transform the system that creates it.

The Bertha Centre, a specialised unit at the UCT GSB, convenes this course as part of its efforts to advance the social innovation and entrepreneurship sectors in Africa and globally. The Systems Change and Social Impact course draws upon the Centre's collaboration and research with the Rockefeller Foundation, Schwab Foundation, Motsepe Foundation and Transforming Change programme.  Lecture-based and workshop-style sessions are delivered by a diverse representation of ground-breaking systems practitioners and academics. And, as such, the curriculum is a unique blend of global systems-innovation cases and frameworks.

Decided that this is the programme for you?


“This Executive Education course at the UCT Graduate School of Business is for leaders of social enterprises - non-profits or for profits. They come together and learn about the ultimate question: How to scale the impact of their organisations beyond the boundaries of their operations, shifting systems and solving social problems.”
- Francois Bonicci, Founding Director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship 

 “Systems Thinking enables us to navigate the complexities of poverty, climate change, gender based violence, to name a few. By getting all these changemakers in a room together; funders, social entrepreneurs, policymakers - the idea to is capacitate them with a common language and resource set that better positions them to think and work collaboratively across sectors and therefore initiate positive systems.”
- Ncedisa Nkonyeni, Course Convenor of the Systems Change and Social Impact course


If you have made your decision and you are ready to apply for this course, please click here.

If you’d like more information or if you have any further questions, please click here. You will receive an email with our course brochure along with a link to apply to this course.

You will benefit highly from this course if you are:

  • A senior leader or manager in a social enterprise or non-profit organisation
  • Policymaker with an interest in promoting social entrepreneurship ecosystems
  • Funder seeking to become more effective in grant-making and investing
  • Leader in private, public, and civic society 

Delegates on the Systems Change and Social Impact course will gain:

  • An understanding of how social entrepreneurs, funders and policymakers are embracing systems thinking
  • Tools and frameworks to look beyond the scale of individual organisations to transform sectors, systems and societies at large
  • Exposure to best practices of leading social benefit organisations
  • An opportunity to interact with ground-breaking systems practitioners and academics
  • An opportunity to be part of a growing network of change-agents better able to effect transformation in their systems of interest

This interactive five-day course offers a rich learning experience that blends theory and practice and is designed to surface the knowledge that participants bring with them into the space.

Topics include:

  • Social entrepreneurship to systems entrepreneurship – including local and global trends, developments and policies
  • Working across scale and models for impact that go beyond technical fixes toward systemic change – from creative advocacy to unusual partnerships
  • Practical skills in leadership and management, including managing uncertainty and navigating complexity
  • Innovative finance frameworks and mechanisms that support social/systems entrepreneurship

Students need to arrange their own accommodation.

In Cape Town, accommodation is offered in the Breakwater Lodge, on the UCT GSB campus, at special rates.

  • 15% early bird discount for applicants who have secured and confirmed payment two months before the application deadline.
  • 25% discount for registered non-profit organisations.
  • 15 % bulk discount for organisations that send 3 – 6 applicants (discount applied from third applicant).
  • 10% bulk discount for organisations that send 7+ applicants (discount applied to all applicants).

Please note: These discounts cannot be used in conjunction with any other discounts.

Course Convenor

As the Social Systems Innovation Lead, Ncedisa convenes the Bertha Centre’s Systems Change and Social Impact Executive Education course. She also curates the Africa regional hub of the global Systems Play team - a support and resource node for change-agents aspiring to position their innovations at systems’ tipping points. She teaches Systems Change on the Graduate School of Business’s(GSB) MBA and MPhil programmes, and partners locally and globally with leading academics and practitioners to facilitate systems innovation capacity-building, case generation and exchange all over the world. Currently reading for a Masters in Philosophy in Inclusive Innovation at the GSB, her research is around the relationship between collective embedded agency and institutional change.


The Systems Change and Social Impact course can be customised to suit your organisation’s learning and development needs and can be delivered anywhere in the world, wherever it is convenient.