GIBS Entrepreneurship Development Academy


The Entrepreneurship Development Academy is the heart of entrepreneurial development and thinking at GIBS. The Academy specialises in understanding entrepreneurship in constraint, enabling business owners to understand the environment within which they work, and thrive within it. We work with entrepreneurs in both the formal and informal sectors, at various phases of their business development, from start up through to high impact growth. We have particular expertise in women, township, social and green entrepreneurship, with the development of young entrepreneurs as a foundational theme across our portfolio. The Academy has an extensive research portfolio, leading the first national mapping study of social enterprises in South Africa, and with numerous publications in the green economy, social and youth entrepreneurship. 

Who we are

The Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) is a unit within GIBS focused on supporting entrepreneurs. The Academy is built on the premise that entrepreneurial mindset and attitude is as important as technical skill especially in the South African climate where entrepreneurial activity is said to be low for a developing nation. 

Since inception in 2012, the Academy has trained over 2,000 entrepreneurs. These people and their businesses generate over R1.7 billion in revenue, and a majority show consistent growth in revenue and jobs. 

The EDA operates across four key focus areas namely; Social, Women, Green and Township Entrepreneurship. 

Our Social Entrepreneurship efforts are focused on developing and researching South Africa’s social enterprises. These are the organisations that generate both social and economic value, blending the social mission of charities with the approach and profit motive of business. Our work in this sector positioned us as the first university unit in the country focusing on social entrepreneurship and our year-long Social Entrepreneurship Programme is a pioneer in its field. The team leads major research projects including the first study to identify social enterprises in South Africa, and published The Disruptors – social entrepreneurs re-inventing business and society in 2016. 

Our Offerings

The Academy offers clients and participants value through the following delivery structure:

Versatile, tailor-made programmes

  • Customised curriculum and support services are tailored to the industry and size of the business.
  • Programme content is taught in a relevant and engaging manner by industry specialists and educators with experience of being entrepreneurs themselves.
  • Curriculum and support services are developed from research and observation of the business needs.


The Academy designs programmes for entrepreneurs that are relevant to different stages of their business life-cycle:

Groundwork Programme (for start-up businesses) and Growth Advancement Programme (for scale-up businesses). Each programme is customised to address challenges entrepreneurs face at these specific stages. In doing so, the entrepreneur is able to mitigate factors that could affect the growth or sustainability of their business. Delegates on the programmes are exposed to seminars, workshops, field visits and team challenges. The support structure provides mentorship and coaching, business advisory support, peer learning opportunities and access to networking events.

Since the Academy offers truly customised programming, no two programmes are the same. Programme offering is nuanced based on the sponsor’s objectives, the nature of sophistication of the entrepreneurs and the sector they represent. Therefore various programme lengths are offered from one-week boot camps (usually for start-up entrepreneurs) through to medium (3 – 4 month programmes) and year-long programmes that include an academic foundation and support services.

Mentorship and coaching forentrepreneurs

  • Support and advisory services help delegates apply concepts from the academic part of the programme to improve their business management skills and grow their business.
  • Mentorship and coaching sessions include face-to-face, telephonic and group discussion sessions that aim to support, develop and challenge delegates.

Structured programme for Social Entrepreneurs

The Social Entrepreneurship Programme (SEP)  is the only yearlong programme on Social Enterprise in South Africa.

Short programmes and workshops

The EDA offers highly specialist programmes throughout the year, in response to entrepreneurs needs. 

Strengthening the eco-system

The EDA is a leader in strengthening theeco-system for entrepreneurship through events, discussions and debates. 


Website Visit website
Location 26 Melville Rd, Illovo, Sandton, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
Targets South Africa
Sectors Sector agnostic