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Fundraising priorities
Home > Donating to UCT > Fundraising priorities > Pursuing innovation & enterprise

Pursuing innovation & enterprise

The projects in this theme capture UCT's vision of generating relevant research that creates new and innovative solutions. In this way our pioneering researchers bring new ideas and inventions that build on previous efforts, while pushing forward the frontiers of our natural and social worlds.


(Fundraising needs: Operational Costs and Equipment)

Integral to the vision of the Abalobi project is an imperative to address socio-economic inequalities and empower previously marginalised communities that build their livelihoods within the fishing industry. Abalobi (an isiXhosa word for small-scale fisher) is an integrated catch management system designed as a mobile phone application. It enables fishermen to be integrated into mainstream information and resource networks, from fishery monitoring and maritime safety to local development and market opportunities. The project is based at UCT?s Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, with many of the team members being small-scale fishers of South Africa who were also part of the UCT team involved in the design of South Africa?s new Small Scale Fisheries Policy. Fishers have already started making use of the application and through the integrated chat facility they are able to establish the safety of crew after severe weather has set in, as well as to encourage co-operation in the setting of price per unit for the daily catch. The latter is especially encouraging for South African small-scale fishers, granting them greater empowerment in the value chain. With added support through donor funding, the project aims to increase the number of pilots and include more coastal regions.

African Institute for Financial Markets and Risk Management

(Fundraising needs: scholarships and staff)

The demand for specialist mathematical, quantitative and investment expertise far exceeds the current supply within our region. These skills are indispensable, specifically in Investment Banking and Asset Management, but are also required in other sub-sectors. The African Institute for Financial Markets and Risk Management (AIFMRM) was established in 2014 as a postgraduate institute within the Faculty of Commerce at the University of Cape Town, with the aim of becoming a benchmark for academic financial market and risk management entities across the African continent. The Institute adopts a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary approach to building greater capacity and is especially in need of support for fellowships in grooming the most promising talent. Using a foundation of innovative and continent-focused research and scholarship, AIFMRM has undertaken to create the next generation of African finance academics dedicated to rigorous scholarship.

Bertha Centre

(Fundraising Needs: Scholarships and Operational Costs)

The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a specialised unit at the UCT Graduate School of Business. It works to uncover, pioneer, and connect innovators with entrepreneurs, generating inclusive opportunities and advancing social justice in Africa. Established in partnership with the Bertha Foundation in 2011, it has become a leading academic centre dedicated to advancing social innovation and entrepreneurship. Since then it has integrated social innovation into the Graduate School of Business curriculum, established a wide community of practitioners, and awarded over R4 million in scholarships to African students. None of these efforts would be realized without the support of donors, whose contributions particularly help bolster the Centre?s work in uncovering, pioneering and advancement in the fields of health and education innovations. Additional resources are needed to provide scholarships or discounted fees, for those from under-resourced regions, to participate in the Centre?s short courses such as Leading Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing in Africa, and Innovation in Education for Leaders. Beneficiaries of the Bertha Centre?s work include government across all levels, students from across Africa, social entrepreneurs, and social innovators.

Evergreen Seed Fund

(Fundraising needs: endowment)

UCT has a strong history of achievement in the field of innovation. This legacy continues at our university, but many UCT innovations with huge social and commercial promise never get off the ground because they struggle to fund product prototypes and broader experimental data. The Evergreen Seed Fund aims to overcome these obstacles by being a self-sustaining fund that supports projects along the innovation path. At present the fund is limited in the number of projects it can support, therefore its growth is vital to enable the development of promising technologies, moving them to licensing or spin-out stage and positioning them to receive external support. In doing so, this fund will provide opportunities to take commercialisation at UCT to the next level. This is an opportunity to lend support and stand together with the inspiring people who are creating new technologies for a better world. Donor funding would assist in processing a larger number of concept projects per year towards commercialisation, while also growing the overall Evergreen Seed Fund.

Graduate School of Business Foundation

(Fundraising Needs: Endowment)

The University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business (GSB) is founded on the principle of 'full colour thinking', training business leaders and entrepreneurs within the paradigm of the emerging economy. The Master of Business Administration or MBA programme is the only MBA programme in Africa listed in the Financial Times Top 100 Global MBA ranking and offers a curriculum that pushes students to their limits while empowering them to reach their best, personally and professionally. The Foundation is an initiative to create more opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds to access the programme. While many emerging business leaders would greatly benefit from an MBA experience of advancing their skill and networking with likeminded entrepreneurs, the financial challenges often blur such opportunities. Through the growth of the GSB Foundation, we aim to actualise the business opportunities for more of our talented individuals who will ultimately help pioneer our economic development.