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


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

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Life on the Internship

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.

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.


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.

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)


Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. There are many local tour operators offering a wide variety of excursions; or alternatively, many of our volunteers like to team up in country to plan weekend trips together.

Here are some of the exciting local sights and activities that you might want to check out during your stay:


  • Take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain.

  • Go hiking in Table Mountain National Park or the many other nature reserves.

  • Travel to Cape Point, noted for its natural beauty, where you can see baboons, antelope, and zebra.

  • Make the trip to Cape Agulhas, Africa’s Southernmost point.

  • Visit a private game reserve, two hours outside Cape Town, where you can spot lions, leopards, cheetah, rhino, hippo, and buffalo.

  • Book a Garden Route tour, traveling along the lush Indian Ocean coast and visit the beautiful Tsitsikamma National Park. From June to November this is the ideal location for spotting whales.

  • Travel to the Cederberg mountains, to hike the mountain trails and admire San rock art.

  • Visit the vineyards of Costania, under the shadow of Table Mountain, or Stellenbosch, about one hour outside Cape Town.

  • Explore Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, where many of the indigenous plants unique to the region can be seen.


  • Surfing at one of the many beaches.

  • Diving or snorkeling.

  • Sea kayaking.

  • Shark cage diving.

  • Rock climbing and abseiling on Table Mountain or the many other ranges in the area.

  • Horse riding on the beach.

  • Skydiving.


  • Robben Island, which use to function as a jail for notable political prisoners including Nelson Mandela.

  • Castle Of Good Hope, the first colonial building in Cape Town.

  • The District Six Museum, which honours the forcible removal of residents from the area during the apartheid era.

  • The Bo Kaap Museum, which reflects on the Islamic traditions in the area since colonial times.

  • The Slave Lodge, creates awareness around the past influences of slavery on the city.

Further Travel In South Africa:

  • Kruger National Park, South Africa’s largest wildlife park, in the North of the country.

  • The Drakensberg Mountains, the ‘Mountain of Dragons’, and its famous river canyon.

  • Addo Elephant Park, a refuge for African Elephants.

  • The desert habitats of the Karoo and Kalahari.

  • The historic and verdant Zululand region.

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.

Select a Start Date

  • 2019
  • 2020

Select a Duration

Select a start date first.

Select Add-Ons

+ £40
+ £60
+ £15

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.


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.