Global Initiatives


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Entrepreneurship is an important job generation and economic growth tool. The Motsepe Foundation has established a partnership with the Schwab Foundation to promote social entrepreneurship.


A social entrepreneur is someone who pursues an innovative idea with the potential to solve a community or social problem. These individuals are willing to take on the risk and effort to create positive changes in society through their initiatives.

The main goal of a social entrepreneur is not to earn a profit, but to implement widespread improvements in society. However, social entrepreneurs must still be financially savvy to succeed in their cause.

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The Schwab Foundation is a Geneva-based non-profit organisation whose key purpose is to advance and foster social entrepreneurs as an important catalyst for societal innovation and progress.


In 2015, in order to promote social entrepreneurship on the African continent, the Motsepe Foundation partnered with the Schwab Foundation for social entrepreneurship. The latter is a Geneva-based non-profit organisation whose key purpose is to advance and foster social entrepreneurs as an important catalyst for societal innovation and progress. This partnership aims to advance the social entrepreneurship agenda in Africa by raising awareness, engaging the media and celebrating proven social innovators. It also aims to contribute to research initiatives on best practice and scaling strategies, and build the capacity of African social enterprises through peer-to-peer exchanges. The partnership includes:

The Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Awards: Every year, in partnership with the Schwab Foundation, the Motsepe Foundation hosts the annual SEOY Awards at the WEF Africa meeting. In 2016, the event was held in Kigali and in 2017 in Durban. The Solutions Summit with the Social Entrepreneurs was also held from 30 April 2017 – 3 May 2017 in Durban.

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The Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Awards, which raise awareness of the role and importance of African social entrepreneurs, and the need to advance their agenda.


Sponsorship of social entrepreneurs to attend the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), a public policy and public administration school at Harvard University. The school conducts research in subjects relating to politics, government, international affairs and economics. The Motsepe Foundation funds students from Africa to attend the HKS.

Social entrepreneurship training offered through the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The training focuses on approaching social entrepreneurship from a systems perspective and achieving greater impact through programme design, policy and partnerships. It offers leaders and social entrepreneurs in South Africa access to the most recent developments in the field and provides them with the tools and frameworks to upscale their businesses.

The course includes strategies for policy advocacy, government partnership, participatory programme design and personal leadership that contributes to systems change.

Beneficiaries are mainly well-established entrepreneurs, selected for the effectiveness of their programmes and models, but also looking to expand their impact dramatically. In 2016, the following organisations benefited from the Social Entrepreneurship programme at UCT: The Clothing Bank, Durban Music School, Math and Science Leadership Academy, Philani Development Centre, Pietermaritzburg and District Community Trust, Silulo Ulutho Technologies, Tebogo Kgobokoe Arts Academy and Zimele Developing Community Self Reliance.

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


Our community initiatives directly impact the poor, unemployed and marginalized, which aims to make a significant reduction in national poverty levels of South Africa.


We launched our bursary programme in 2013 which targeted at STEM areas. The bursary programme provides full tuition and associated university costs to selected recipients from low-income families. This includes the full duration of their studies, ranging from four years for engineering students to seven years for medical students.


Schwarzman Scholars is a highly selective one-year Master’s programme at Tsinghua University in Beijing that is designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders for the challenges of the future. The Motsepe Foundation supports the Schwarzman Foundation by taking African students to study in China every two years from 2014 to 2018.


Our support for the achievement of this Global Goal is focused on three key areas: information in the form of the Little Black Book to empower women; gender-responsive budgeting to ensure that women’s needs are accounted for in provincial and national processes; and also targeting girls in school encouraging them to look into STEM careers to ensure that women are not left behind in the 4th Industrial Revolution.


Our partnership with the Schwab Foundation aims to advance the social entrepreneurship agenda in Africa by raising awareness, engaging the media and celebrating proven social innovators.


The Motsepe Foundation supports the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants, focusing on wildlands and ocean conservation, climate change and indigenous rights.


The Motsepe Foundation works with various stakeholders to address threats from existing or emerging diseases on the African continent and globally.

  • HIV/AIDS research: The Motsepe Foundation donated US$1 million to the RED campaign headed by musician, Bono, to help combat HIV/AIDS in Africa.
  • Cancer research: The Motsepe Foundation provides funding to the Milken Institute to support and accelerate medical research for a cure for cancer.
  • Ebola: The Motsepe Foundation donated US$1 million to the Ebola fund in Guinea. The donation was mainly to assist Guinea with clinical management, social mobilisation, medical