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 the Bertha Foundation, a family foundation that works with inspiring leaders who are catalysts for social and economic change.
In early 2018, the Bertha Centre celebrated six years of pioneering work in the field, with the inaugural Centre Review.
Through this partnership (Foundation & Centre) the GSB strengthens its commitment to transformation and equality and UCT’s strategic goal to address key development challenges facing Africa.
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 Scholars at the GSB are
part of this global Bertha Foundation network.
To date the Centre has awarded over R7 million in funding to more than 60 students from across the African continent.
What does the scholarship offer?
The Bertha Scholarship covers full or partial costs of the MBA (both
full-time and the modular programme) and MPhil in Inclusive Innovation
programmes at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.
The scholarship entails joining an illustrious cohort of alumni, and
a thriving community of dynamic change makers. Being a scholar is about
joining a collective, as much as it is about propelling your own
professional and personal trajectory.
“The Bertha Scholarship quite literally changed my life. I was at
a point in my career where the next step was vague. I knew that I
wanted to get involved with work that had more social impact. I had also
been accepted at the GSB where the social entrepreneurship focus was
perfectly aligned. The Bertha Scholarship not only alleviated the
financial pressure of doing the MBA, but allowed me to completely
embrace social entrepreneurship and social impact.” – Karimi Mwendia Fondaumiere (Modular MBA, 2012)
“Having access to the Bertha Scholarship gave me access to a
higher education that I would’ve otherwise not afforded. Through the
scholarship and the network of the Bertha Centre, our organisation
Lumkani, which was in its infancy at the time, had access to finances
and the right individuals to grow our young social enterprise.” – Francois Petousis (MPhil, 2014)
“The scholarship put me in between two worlds – the MBA and my
social justice background. Without the scholarship I would not have gone
to business school; I would not have learnt these new institutional
languages. The space gave me the tools to create business models and
organisations I hope to see in the world, but also forced me to
strengthen my social justice work through various institutional
struggles at the GSB.” – Ella Scheepers (MBA, 2015)
Who does the scholarship seek to support?
The Bertha scholarship is offered 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.
In doing this, the Centre aims to diversify the student body at the
GSB, by enabling scholars who might not have been able to study at the
institution, and investing in their journey to increase their social
impact as their career evolves.
The Centre recognises the systemic impact of nurturing
cross-disciplinary/sector relationships and networks, and therefore are
committed to growing its Scholar Alumni Community.
Am I eligible?
You are eligible for a Bertha Scholarship:
- if you meet the admission requirements of the university for your selected course of study.
- if you are an African citizen or permanent resident.
- if you are an entrepreneur who has started or worked with a social/green/entrepreneurial innovative idea that seeks social and/or economic change.
- if you are an entrepreneur who
has worked on advancing social justice and pioneering inclusive
opportunities through social innovation within an organisation.
- if you demonstrate strong leadership qualities within your field.
If you are interested, follow these steps to apply:
- Submit your MBA or MPhil in Inclusive Innovation programme application before the respective deadlines to the GSB.
- Submit the Bertha Scholarship Application Form which should include:
- Your UCT GSB application number received from the GSB Admissions Office
- Your contact details and your CV uploaded.
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
- Your short [no longer than four minute] video.
Note: You will only be able to take up the Bertha
Scholarship if you are successfully admitted to the UCT GSB programme
for which you have applied.
Your submission will be assessed and you will only be contacted if
you have been selected for an interview with the scholarship selection
Timelines – 2018
|1. Applications Open||1 August|
|2. Application Deadline||31 October|
|3. Scholarship shortlisting (internal committee meeting)||19 – 20 November|
|4. Shortlisted applicants invited for interview||23 November|
|5. Interviews||26 – 27 November|
|6. Scholarship committee meeting (internal)||4 – 5 December|
|7. Scholarships offered||7 December|
Learn more about our past Bertha Scholars here on our Bertha Alumni page.
Contact The Bertha Centre
Tel: +27 (0)21 406 1524 / 1514 or +27 (0)76 365 4440
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does the scholarship apply to international students who have not lived in an African country? Candidates must be citizens or permanent residents of any African country.
- Does the scholarship apply to an MBA at any other university?The scholarship is only available for courses offered by the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.
- Would the scholarship be available to Modular MBA students as well?Yes
- I have completed the online scholarship application; do you need anything else from me?You
will need to complete the programme application process for your course
of study. This is a separate application to the Bertha Centre’s
scholarship application process and is a requirement. Please see UCT GSB
application processes here.
- What supporting documents do I need to send with my scholarship application?Applicants must supply the following documents:
– Your short three/four minute video
– A copy of your CV.
– A cover letter/motivational letter.
– Your UCT GSB student registration number.
- Video Guidelines: The video should be an
expression of yourself – feel free to be as straightforward, or as
creative, as you wish to be. There is no need for a professional
production – using your mobile phone is fine.
Click here to apply: