Systems Change & Social Impact - Overview


Systems change represents a wholesale shift in the way systems work for tens of millions of people, calling up examples such as universal vaccine coverage, women's suffrage, and free primary education.

Learn about how social entrepreneurs, funders and policymakers globally and locally are embracing systems thinking, looking beyond the scale of individual organisations with the aim of transforming sectors, systems and societies at large.

This short course at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business gives leaders of social enterprises new tools and frameworks to scale their impact, looking beyond the scale of their own organisations to initiating and building movements for social change.

Convened by the Bertha Centre, this course will draw upon the Centre's collaboration and research with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Schwab Foundation and the Motsepe Foundation to study social entrepreneurs engaged in systems change. 

The course is delivered by a diverse representation of ground-breaking systems practitioners and academics.  As such the curriculum is a unique blend of global South and North systems-innovation cases and frameworks. By the end of the course, participants will be part of a growing network of change-agents better capacitated to effect transformation in the systems that prevent it.

"At the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, we have been partnering with entrepreneurs and networks to understand best practices of leading social benefit organisations. This course offers an opportunity to learn from and participate in a community of practice that we hope will assist social entrepreneurs in reaching a pivotal level of impact." Dr Fran├žois Bonnici, Director of the Bertha Centre

Is this course for me?

This management short course is for senior leaders and managers in social enterprises and nonprofit organisations seeking to grow their social benefit companies and organisations; policymakers with an interest in promoting social entrepreneurship ecosystems; funders seeking to become more effective in their grant-making and investing; and senior-level stakeholders in the social enterprise system.

This management short course is open to entrepreneurs and executives from companies or organisations involved in furthering the common good.

Applications are welcome from founders, CEOs and senior managers of established social ventures, generally operating for at least 3 years. We welcome participants from both for-profit and non-profit organisations. 


  • The "current state" of social entrepreneurship, including local and global trends, developments and policies;
  • The opportunities and trade-offs of scale, introducing advanced thinking and models for impact that go beyond technical fixes toward systemic change;
  • Practical skills in leadership and management, including strategic planning, human resources, and change management for maximum impact;
  • Business models for social change, including revenue generation, financing and fundraising;
  • A community of practice that will serve far beyond the duration of the course.

Course information

This interactive five-day course offers a rich learning experience that blends theory and practice with a focus on the latter.

The materials for this course have been developed in collaboration with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, with funding from the Motsepe Foundation.

The course runs in Cape Town on the UCT GSB campus. For more information please contact the Executive Education unit at the UCT Graduate School of Business on 0860 UCT GSB or email

Course Convenor: 

Ncedisa Nkonyeni

14 - 18 October 2019

Application deadline:
13 September 2019

Scholarship application deadline:

Tuition fee:
R17 500

Fee support, scholarships and multiple participant discounts are available; please enquire for your particular circumstances. Please enquire at

Delegates will be awarded a certificate from the University of Cape Town, Graduate School of Business, on successful completion of the programme.

The course is run by the Bertha Centre, a specialised unit at the UCT GSB and forms part of its efforts to advance the social entrepreneurship sector in Africa and globally.


Download Course Brochure

Find out more about this short course.



GSB Johannesburg

A home-away-from-home in the heart of Africa's top business district.

GSB Executive Education Short Course Menu

A complete list of all the short courses offfered at the GSB

Customised Programmes

Develop your people. Get your organisation ready for tomorrow.