SBS Centre of Research Excellence
This is an African centre of research excellence and thought leadership in business innovation, development and sustainability, and the societal wellbeing of all Africans. The centre seeks to advance research in key areas of business and society for the holistic good of Africa. Through robust and interdisciplinary research, we are dedicated to better understanding how Africa can leverage its key assets of human capital and other resources to realise Africa’s importance in global economic development. We focus on critical issues such as wellbeing and sustainability, enterprise and human capital development, technology and innovation, and risk. These focus areas serve as the Research Excellence Units (REUs) at the centre.
Sustainability and Wellbeing Group (SaWG)
In the current age of unmanageable consumer debt, resource shortages, unemployment, obesity, environmental deterioration, plastic waste disposal problems, air and water pollution, poverty, corporations and people worldwide becoming more engrossed in profits and pleasures of consumption with little or no consideration of consumers’ and societal wellbeing, there is need to conduct research on understanding and mitigating these problems.
The sustainable and wellbeing research group engages in interdisciplinary dialogues and research underpinned by theories from transformative consumer research, behavioural science, sustainability, ethics and social responsibility, psychology and public health to push the boundaries of the green economy, sustainable business practice and societal wellbeing. The SaWG also conducts impactful research on reckless and unsustainable consumption behaviour and waste management. The group works with industry partners (food industry, retail industry in terms of plastic package usage), governmental institutions concerned with environmental protection and public policymakers, international agencies, such as the Greenpeace, WWF, Transformative Consumer Research Movement, UN environmental programme etc.
Technology Innovation and Insurance and Risk Group (TIIRU)
This unit uses technology to forecast natural disasters, weather variability and global health pandemics using crowdsourced R&D and other technologies that offer useful insights into enabling real time research capabilities, with important implications for disaster and crisis management. Considering the risks associated with disasters and need for effective management, this research unit also assess insurance companies’ preparedness and investigates effective ways to make businesses and communities more resilient in the face of these increasing public risks. The impacts of natural disasters on communities and business are also researched for the development of appropriate risk response strategies. Research of these nature is particularly important because risks impede the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and other development milestones, unless solutions to manage them are developed through research.
Entrepreneurship and Business Ideas Development Unit (EBIDU)
Working with the Wits Entrepreneurship Clinic, this unit conducts research on the success and failure factors of entrepreneurs and SMMEs in Africa. It also creates space for innovative business ideas sharing, feasibility studies and market research analyses. In this unit, research is conducted on digital and sustainable entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on addressing grand challenges related to the environment and climate change. This will be in local and international partnerships with key stakeholders related to entrepreneurial ecosystems to provide a robust support mechanism for practicing and aspiring entrepreneurs and SMMEs. The unit is a stop-point for international business persons wanting to conduct business in Africa and needing research on African business environments, expectations and success factors.
Organisational Research Partnership Opportunities
In our quest to conduct relevant research, SBS is open to partner organisations to conduct rigorous research into specific challenges. We do this through different approaches, including working with specific academic divisions, research units, individual faculty and students as part of their research thesis. Our Faculty, PhD and Master’s students are looking for exciting development and business cases and organisational phenomena to investigate. We are available to use our expertise to help you find a profitable business solution in this competitive and challenging environment. We would be glad to begin discussions with brands and organisations interested in taking advantage of our research collaboration opportunities.