UCT’s Bertha Centre dishes out $50k startup grant funding

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The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business (GSB) has awarded a total of ZAR660,000 (US$50,000) to 10 startups via two different grant funding mechanisms.

Established in 2011, the Bertha Centre has integrated social innovation into the GSB curriculum, established a wide community of practitioners and awarded over ZAR7 million (US$556,000) in scholarships to students from across Africa.

Disrupt Africa reported in May the SAB Foundation has pledged ZAR1.5 million (US$119,000) to the Bertha Centre Student Seed Fund, which offers grant funding to student-run social innovations, and the Bertha Centre has now disbursed ZAR360,000 (US$27,000) to five startups through this fund.

Sales management and data collection tool Ispani, decentralised residential recycling business Regenize, and community-based home monitoring system Jonga each secured ZAR100,000 (US$7,500), while urban farming business Little Green Things took home ZAR50,000 (US$3,750). Feminine hygiene product FemWash banked ZAR10,000 (US$750).

“Successful enterprises are those that reflect high potential for commercial viability and sustainability, whilst creating positive social impact at scale through innovation,” the Bertha Centre said.

The Bertha Centre also said it had received increased interest from independent donors wanting to further support the initiative, with one of those donors an alumni of the GSB who has pledged to support the fund with a donation of ZAR100,000 (US$7,500).

“As we seek to grow the fund, and the opportunities available for entrepreneurially inclined students, the Bertha Centre celebrates this achievement, and welcomes any further interest from willing donors,” it said.

Meanwhile, the centre also disbursed ZAR300,000 (US$22,500) in grant money via its partnership Pathways to Funding initiative, powered by donor investment management organisation Community Chest. Six startups were recipients of the funding, each receiving ZAR50,000 (US$3,750).

Regenize was again a recipient, while there were also grants for software NGO Ikhayalami, township destination marketing company DiscoverIkasi, accommodation platform Hustlenomics, B2B e-commerce platform Vuleka, and procurement service Kuba.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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