“I believe that most of the world’s problems can be solved in India and South Africa. If we can find the solutions for the problems there and here, then we’re on to something,” said Norton.
“India has massive poverty, education issues and inequality, problems shared by Africa.” The UCT Graduate School of Business, through the work of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, supports Norton’s emphasis on “investing in individuals with ideas” by actively investing in the next generation of social innovators through scholarships; practical, rigorous teaching; research and exposure and debate.
Norton walks the talk. Apart from founding CIVA in 1995 to develop, pilot and fund new ideas for addressing social problems, he is also a founding trustee member of UnLtd UK, a charity which supports social entrepreneurs by providing a complete package of funding and support.
His book 365 Ways to Change the World is a detailed practical guide to everyday things that everyone who wants to make a difference can do. Some are intriguing, many are unusual, a few involve fundraising, most are fun and can be planned from a home office set-up – and all are achievable.
“I believe the human race is amazing. We have energy and we have brains, so we can make huge changes with enough focus and action,” says Norton. “Ordinary people, taking that first step, make all the difference.”
Baets is the Director of the UCT Graduate School of Business.