Use your theoretical training skills to work in the local community with developing entrepreneurs, assisting them with developing their small social enterprise businesses. Challenge yourself and gain practical experience while steering your own career in the right direction, whether you want to succeed in finance, marketing, accountancy, management, operations, international relations, human resource or more. You will live and work in the beautiful city of Cape Town where you will be immersed in the diverse culture and rich history of South Africa.
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 running educational workshops and 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 workshops and 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 southern suburbs with direct exposure to local culture and communities. Optional side trips are available to 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.
"The experience I gained during my time training with GVI has allowed me to go on to work within the conservational research field. This has been a stepping stone into a career in conservation that I would not have had access to without the GVI Internship program."
What's Not Included
Life on the Internship
Monday to Friday
During training you will learn about the different customs and cultures in South Africa, to get a better understanding of the communities you will be working in. You are given training on how to conduct workshops, training and one on one mentoring, and how to best cater for the needs of the local community members.
Ongoing support is provided by GVI staff, and you will have weekly meetings with your mentor, to review your progress throughout the internship. The staff members from our partner organisation, Solution Space, will also be available to guide and mentor you.
You will spend the week days on site in the township of Phillipi where Solution Space operates, contributing towards and participating in their business incubator program. Each business owner’s needs will be unique to their specific industry and interns’ skills and experience will be matched with the most relevant business.
Later in the day you will return to your shared accommodation and prepare for the next days. Participants will be transported to and from Phillipi by GVI.
Accommodation is in Cape Town’s southern suburbs in guest houses/apartments with shared twin rooms and bathrooms, with access to hot, running water and electricity. Meals are included in the program and the preparation thereof will often be a team effort where interns help to cook on a rotational basis.
Weekends have been left free for your own leisure so that you will have time to explore the spectacular sites and scenery in and around Cape Town.
What's Not Included
Our partner organisation, Solution Space, follows a business incubator model, aimed at developing the local communities of Phillipi’s business skills and infrastructure. The MTN Solution Space was founded in 2014 by the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business and they are on a mission to:
Inspire, nurture and equip the next generation of leaders to build a better future. Through learning, venturing and exchanging, these leaders will turn extraordinary ideas into reality – changing the world around them and challenging others to do the same.
Together with Solution Space, GVI aims to impact the community of Phillipi and provide our interns with a unique opportunity to develop their leadership and business skills to boost their career in the right direction. Interns will facilitate workshops, training, discussions, interactive activities, and role playing. Some of the topics you would cover will include:
• Entrepreneurship training
• Ways to obtain microcredit
• The importance of proper business planning
• Common challenges of microenterprises and how to overcome them
• How to create business plans
How this project makes a difference:
In South Africa, and Cape Town specifically, there are great economic disparities between different regions. The work done by our interns aims to develop and nurture ambitious micro-entrepreneurs establish their businesses within the industry, with the long-term aim to develop knowledgeable community members who are equipped to become sustainable business owners. Your contribution in this process helps change the lives of these communities by contributing to a variety of key Sustainable Development Goals, namely:
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
Cape Town's short, mid, and long-term objectives
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 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 visualize 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.
What's Not Included
An internship with GVI not only allows you to participate in programmes assisting 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 programme. Many decide to travel after interning, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on the programme.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Cape Town field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in South Africa!
Optional Side Trips
These two trips below (additional cost) are popular trips with our interns in Cape Town:
Cape Town Cultural and Activity Weekend – This trip includes 2 nights in Cape Town near Long Street so that you can sample the lively weekend city life. On Friday afternoon you will travel through to Cape Town after finishing your internship work. The Saturday is a free day and you may wish to take the opportunity to visit some of the following iconic Cape Town attractions: Robben Island, Table Mountain, District 6 Museum, Castle of Good Hope or the Green Market Square craft markets. Sunday includes a full day in Cape Point and a visit to an African Penguin colony. You will have the opportunity to explore the Cape Point nature reserve on mountain bike where you may see antelope, zebra, ostrich, seals and possibly even whales. During the day you will enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the reserves beautiful beaches.
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.
Further Travelling Opportunities
South Africa has such a wealth of fantastic opportunities for further travel. In Cape Town, you have easy access to the famous Garden Route, chances to explore the Cederberg Mountain range or take more time to enjoy the vibrancy of Cape Town. Other possibilities include the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, the beauty of the Kalahari Desert, historic Zululand, the fantastic Southern Coast, the world-renowned National Parks of Kruger and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and many more amazing options in this stunning country.
Meet Karissa, our vibrant country expert for our Cape Town and Thailand, Phang Nga, hubs. She loves travelling and has had her fair share of travelling too. Her first solo travel was to New Zealand to work as an Au Pair, followed by Fiji for over a year. She then travelled to Thailand, where she met her South African partner and worked as an English Teacher at a public High School.
Karissa is TEFL qualified and has first-hand experience of working abroad. What first attracted her to join GVI? “The amazing volunteer projects and stunning locations across the world.”
She moved to Cape Town in November 2015 from her home country, the USA, and is loving every minute of being able to call South Africa her new home!
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!
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.