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Education And Training

GIBS social entrepreneurship programme takes sector to a new level

The GIBS Entrepreneurship Development Academy has introduced a multi-disciplinary training programme which equips participants with the necessary skills to run a business savvy, socially conscious organisation. This flagship programme is designed to provide social change makers and entrepreneurs with the skills, creative thinking, and networks needed to tackle the complex social and economic realities of the communities within which they work.

Dr Kerrin Myres from GIBS  joins Social -TV to elaborate more on the programme and why it is a beneficial step for aspiring social entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Social Entrepreneurship is difficult to define, but if you could how would you?

It’s true that there is still a lot of debate about what social entrepreneurship really is – I think about social entrepreneurs as people who use entrepreneurial methods to solve social and environmental problems. In doing this, they strike a balance between their social/environmental purpose and the need to earn revenue in order to ensure the sustainability of the impact they make.

Tell us about the intricacies of the Social Entrepreneurship Programme and what gaps it hopes to fill in the industry?

The GIBS EDA Social Entrepreneurship Programme is aimed at those wanting to make a difference, by blending world-class business expertise with the complexities of social change. The programme includes the newest thinking for leaders who are looking for leading edge skills, tools and resources that are needed to build, run and scale an effective social enterprise.

 What is the biggest misconception about Social Entrepreneurs by the Entrepreneur community?

Perhaps the biggest misconception is that social enterprises are dependent on donors for their survival. Our research, the Survey of Social Enterprises in South Africa, the largest and most comprehensive study of social enterprises to date, reveals that most social enterprises are able to sustain themselves. They create revenue streams that support the achievement of social impact and are therefore able to operate independently of grants and donations.

What is the significance of social entrepreneurship in a developing country?

Many South Africans continue to be in need of adequate nutrition, healthcare and education as well as an environment that supports and enriches their lives. Governments in developing countries often struggle to meet the basic needs of their populations. And this is where social enterprises can really make a difference – they fill the gaps that governments and businesses can’t or won’t. And that means that social enterprises directly influence the quality of life for developing country populations.

How does someone get involved in the programme? Do they need do have a clear vision about the difference they are trying to make?

Anyone is eligible to apply for the programme. They don’t need a clear vision because the programme helps them to clarify this. What they do need is the demonstrable motivation and passion to make a difference.

How long has the programme been going on and what have been the results this far?

The GIBS EDA Social Entrepreneurship Programme has been running for 10 years. During that time, over 500 people have been through the programme. Participants include people who are already working in or running social enterprises and have credited the SEP with improving their effectiveness and impact, both at the personal and organisational level.

For example, one 2017 graduate said, “This programme changed mine and my organisation’s trajectory. We were on the verge of closing down and the programme helped us to turn things around and operate sustainably”.

Many other participants have successfully started new social enterprises as a result of the programme. Another said “It made me gain confidence in starting a social enterprise as well as assist through consulting to other entities as well as bringing growth to my organisation”

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