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Business Management Internships in Cape Town

Demonstrate your leadership potential by guiding low-resource Capetonian startups to a more profitable future.


Program Information

Take your career to the next level by proving to future employers that you have the talent for strategic insight and the determination to achieve tangible outcomes even in a low-resource, emerging market setting. Gain real world experience and intercultural competency by partnering with South African entrepreneurs on projects selected for you by The University Of Cape Town’s Graduate Business School. Grow your theoretical knowledge of global markets and how they influence informal economies and learn what it means to lead a team.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Our business & micro-enterprise interns will live and work in the beloved city of Cape Town and gain a first-hand experience of what life in South Africa is like.

The internship involves one on one business mentoring sessions on micro-enterprise business skills, training local men and women from local communities and enabling them to become successful entrepreneurs. Interns are directly involved in setting up and implementing these mentorship sessions to create an engaging environment that is conducive to informative and practical business training.



The aim of the internship is to ensure that these communities are better prepared and equipped with the necessary tools and skills to become successful micro-entrepreneurs. This not only develops and empowers the local entrepreneurs, but also creates an opportunity for economic growth within these communities.

This internship is geared specifically at developing your transferable skills, specifically your leadership skills. Our leadership course is aimed directly at this, and allows you to develop a variety of key soft skills that will help you gain and improve vital skill sets to improve your future job prospects. This internship is extremely unique, and provides you with an opportunity to put your practical, classroom based learning into practice. Expect to be challenged and immersed in real projects - you will need to be creative, agile, and resourceful, as you will be working with community members who have limited resources.

Interns work and live in Cape Town’s stunning suburbs with direct exposure to local culture and communities. Interns have the opportunity to plan exciting additional side trips to places such as Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Cape Town wildlife safari and wine tasting, to name but a few, and can be arranged on arrival in Cape Town. For those travelling onwards there is easy access to the Garden Route and cheap domestic flights to Kruger National park from Cape Town.

 

Program Details

Life on the Internship

Accommodation
Our accommodation is situated in Cape Town’s beautiful suburbs and consists of shared rooms and bathrooms, with access to hot running water and electricity.

Weekday Project Work
Interns will complete project work Monday to Friday, 9am - 3pm and will travel to the informal settlement of Philippi where our project is based. There they will meet up with business owners at Solution Space, a satellite campus of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate Business School. Lunches will be provided on projects through local entrepreneurs. Interns will attend regular lectures hosted by the Graduate Business School as part of their program.

Weekends
On weekends interns are free to explore the city in whichever way they choose.

Project Details

Prove yourself to be a tenacious, top-level manager who gets results by working with small business entrepreneurs to resolve issues that affect their company’s overall performance. Create and implement strategies for current stability and potential growth.

Develop your intercultural competency and ability to thrive in the international context of today’s marketplace by collaborating with South African business owners on real business problems.

Learn more about how to apply the latest business thinking to the challenges of the emerging market and use the practical sensibility of local entrepreneurs to make the most of each opportunity. Perfect your leadership skills by guiding a team toward the achievement of a goal and reflecting on your work in one-on-one sessions with your assigned mentor.

Live in Cape Town’s trendy Suburbs and travel daily to the satellite campus of The University Of Cape Town’s triple-crowned Graduate School Of Business School.

You will walk away with proof of how you brought real value to an actual business and the confidence to discuss your success in an interview. You can also attach a personal recommendation from your mentor to your resume, as well as a leadership and internship completion certificate.

As a GVI business management intern based in Cape Town, you will be partnered with a local startup in need of your specific skill set. Industries range from catering and fast food to music and IT. Interns will focus on creating and implementing new strategies and processes, which might include setting up a business plan to help with applying for funding or submitting a business for registration, setting up a growth plan to take advantage of new opportunities, or creating an operational plan in order to ensure more efficiency through standardization.

Learning

Cultural Competency:
Upon arrival interns will first undergo health and safety training as well as a risk assessment. This ensures that able to navigate their own way through Cape Town, with confidence and security. The next day interns will be taken on a welcome walk to see some of the local area, before starting their project work with local entrepreneurs.

Business Theory:
Each week interns will be required to attend lectures that are hosted by the University of Cape Town’s Graduate Business School. These lectures bring local and global business thought leaders together to discuss current trends and topics.

There is also an option to explore how business works in developing contexts even further by exploring topics like informal economies, alternative business models, micro-finance, and guerilla marketing.

Leadership Course And Mentorship:
Like all other GVI internships, GVI business internships abroad include our leadership course. Guided by their mentor, interns learn about leadership and get the chance to put what they have learnt into action and reflect on their experiences. Mentors will meet once a week with an intern in a one-on-one session to discuss their progress.

Our Business School Partner

The University of Cape Town ranks top out of all institutions on the African continent and its Graduate Business School is one of only three triple-crowned institutions on the continent. Its satellite campus, Solution Space, set in Cape Town’s informal settlement of Philippi, is an innovative venture that bridges the knowledge, skills, and experience gap between young startups and academics. The space is a collaborative learning environment that allows students of business from all over the world to learn from the real experiences of local entrepreneurs and gives local entrepreneurs access to the latest developments in business thinking.

How This Project Makes A Difference

All of our programs are aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

GVI business interns will specifically be contributing toward:

Goal 1: No Poverty
Goal 4: Gender Equality
Goal 5: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Part of your training will involve learning about the role business plays in making these goals a reality, both in a local and global context.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.


Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.


Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.


Our Cape Town based community development programs involve researching, planning and delivering practical skills workshops in the local community alongside the direction of local partners


We have partnered with a well-known various educare centres across Cape Town to implement and deliver educational programs to young children. We have been working with our current partners in the Nomzamo township for more than six years, and see the relationship as a long term partnership with core underlying sustainable principles. By participating on a GVI program in this region, you will also be bridging the gap between educational and developmental stimulation needed for the younger generation. We provide support where it is needed by our partners and local communities.


 


Our Partners In Cape Town

Project Objectives

 


GVI Cape Town Long-term Objectives:


1. Improving the quality of education in Nomzamo and Zola.


2. Promoting gender equality in the local community


3. Increasing the health, self-sufficiency and wellbeing of community members with less resources available to them.


4. Increasing in-country capacity by providing long term training to help the local community achieve their long term sustainability objectives.


 


What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — Traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


Support

Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Safety

Upon arrival at the airport participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. Our minimum staff to participant ratio is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.


Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov

HOW GVI UPHOLDS HEALTH AND SAFETY

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.


1 Nov

GVI’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.


6 Nov

HOW GVI REMAINS PREPARED FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.


5 Nov

HOW GVI MANAGES PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.


Country Exploration

Joining a GVI program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunity to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer. Many decide to travel before or after their GVI experience, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.


Our own long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.


Weekend Trips

Long Street

One of Cape Town’s popular hotspots to experience local nightlife and cuisine, a weekend visit to long street is one to add to the planner ahead of visiting the program.


Cape Point Penguin Visit

If you’re planning a nice day trip for a Saturday, you should consider a trip to Cape Point and a visit to an African Penguin colony shortly after.


Cape Point Nature Reserve

Participants are able to see various antelope, zebra, ostrich, seals and possibly even whales! Plan a picnic lunch on one of the reserves beautiful beaches too while you’re at it.


Bungee Jumping and Ziplining:

Awe-inspiring canyons dot the Drakensberg range, and many use the opportunity to experience the exhilarating thrill of bungee jumping for the first time. If you aren’t ready to dive headfirst into the canyons you can glide overhead, using the many zipline tours available in the area. This is an excellent way to see the spectacular landscape from a bird’s eye perspective.


Further Travels

Wildlife Safari

Visit a private game reserve which is located one and a half hours from Cape Town. Here you will enjoy lunch and an afternoon safari before returning home. Transfers to and from the project accommodation are included. There are many other fantastic trips in the area around Cape Town that can easily be arranged once in-country such as shark cage diving, skydiving, wine tasting tours, Hermanus day trips for whale watching (seasonal) or a typical township experience.


Garden Route

In Cape Town, participants have easy access to the famous Garden Route and most participants come back raving after a weekend trip on the open road in the beautiful region.


Cederberg

The Cederberg Mountain Range is an exquisite sight to see for the adventure enthusiasts. Walk or hike your way through an experience that quite frankly, is only done justice in person, and not on photographs.


Drakensberg Mountains

The Drakensberg mountain is a spectacular hotspot in the country and a must-see tourist destination while you are in South Africa.


Kalahari Desert and Historical Zululand

The culture richness and diverse beauty of the Kalahari Desert and historic Zululand is often quite hard to put into words, but is an activity to be planned as part of greater cultural immersion and in an effort to expand your horizons, to solidify your global citizen status.


Kruger National Park

Where roughly 2 million hectares of unrivaled diversity of life forms fuses with historical and archaeological sights – this is real Africa.


The Team

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

Katelin Ryan

Service Learning Manager Cape Town

A sustainable development extraordinaire with a great commitment to create sustainable solutions for local communities. Katie has worked in South Africa for many years before her role with GVI and after completing her Master's degree in International Education she joined our team of professionals.




Her credentials include over eight years of volunteering, teaching, managing, and leading international education programs around the world. This includes working in zero-waste policy communities in New Zealand, and in an orphan bear refugee center in Croatia.




As our Service Learning Manager she is excited to use her experience designing experiential education programmes and managing community programmes.

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of the GVI experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your GVI program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.


Language

The majority of the population of South Africa is divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status.


Culture

South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th largest country in the world by land area, with a diverse cultural population of over 56 million people.


Diversity

The country has celebrated over twenty years of democracy, usher in by the inauguration of former president Nelson Mandela in a historical moment in 1994. South Africa is often referred to as the rainbow nation to describe the country’s multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid and this is something participants are encouraged to learn more about both before and during their time visiting the country and engaging with the local population.


Cape Town immersion

Cape Town is a bustling melting pot of culture, considering it is a fairly complex, multicultural city with a fascinating history. There are many activities you could participate in while visiting the region, including township tours, taking language lessons, visiting the V&A Waterfront, going for a walk on the sea promenade, going whale watching in the bay, as well as exploring the various local cuisines on offer in the multitude of suburbs across the city.


Select a Start Date

  • 2019
  • 2020

Select a Duration

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Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

live base updates

Follow GVI Cape-Town's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
 
GVISouthAfricaCapeTown

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.


As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.