Social Profit Grant brings non-profit and profit closer together

One of the ways Vlerick Business School puts Corporate Social Responsibility into practice is by means of the Vlerick Social Profit Grant. “This grant is not just intended to stimulate greater diversity in our training programmes, but also to contribute to the further professionalisation of the social economy, where training budgets are usually more limited,” explains General Director Patrick De Greve in response to the question of why Vlerick finds it important to commit to this issue. “Nonetheless, managers who work for NGOs or in the cultural sector have just as great a need to continue developing their knowledge and management skills.”

Increased demand

Since the grant was created in 2010, the number of applications is growing year by year. In 2014, 28 people from the non-profit sector had the opportunity to attend training, which is the equivalent of a total amount of 172 325 euros. 2013 was a record year, with Vlerick financing more than 200 000 euros’ worth of training for a total of 32 participants. General management courses and leadership training are particularly popular.

Interaction is crucial

The Vlerick Social Profit Grant is also a good example of Vlerick’s belief in the interaction between participants from the two sectors. Patrick De Greve: “We are convinced that learning is a social experience in which not only the content, teaching quality and learning context are important but also the people with whom you share this learning experience. Learning from each other is particularly exciting and can only increase the impact of the training. The different backgrounds, sectors, value patterns, leadership experiences and management insights reflect the socio-economic fabric of the non-profit and profit sectors and that of society as a whole.”

Eric Morel, as the Medical Purchaser for Doctors without Borders, is responsible for purchasing medical equipment in the specific context of HIV and tuberculosis. Thanks to the Social Profit Grant, he was able to take the Executive Master Class in Supply Chain Management. And he is very grateful for the opportunity: “Vlerick taught me how to translate an idealistic vision. Social objectives clearly have a return on investment on long-term perspective! I hope it will be the start of a long-term partnership with Vlerick as well.”

Before he started the Master Class, he had given himself clear objectives. “My goal was to get a better knowledge of the international supply chain as a purchaser to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. The other objective was to set up an in-company project with MSF in order to go for a sustainable supply chain. I have focused on the social and environmental impacts with our suppliers.”

The course more than met his expectations, says Eric, who has since graduated. “The Master Class has given me a global view on the supply chain and better understanding about the several constraints to deal with along the supply chain with sub-tiers. Now I am more able to understand the suppliers’ requirements and as well get better leverage for negotiating. The Master Class has proven that supply chain definitely has a huge impact on human rights and environment. By challenging suppliers, sustainable supply chains bring an added value not only for the conditions of the workers, respect of human rights or the climate change but as well in terms of return on investment.”

This study programme did not only help him to do his day-to-day job better, but also led to a welcome extra benefit: “Thanks to this very valuable training I have been invited to participate in a UNICEF advisory committee regarding HIV diagnostics procurement. The access for HIV diagnostics is a real challenge as 18 million are in need of treatment.”


There is a lot of interest in the Vlerick Social Profit Grant. To offer everyone a fair chance, the application procedure has been reworked since 2014, to prevent good candidates missing the boat because they are too late.

  • for short programmes, you can apply until 6 weeks before the programme begins
  • for long programmes, you can apply until 12 weeks beforehand
  • the emphasis is on the sector where you are employed (NGO, cultural sector etc.)
  • only one participant with a Social Profit Grant is admitted to each edition of a given study programme
  • the full price of the programme will be paid by Vlerick
  • Objective criteria: size of the organisation, number of years of management experience, impact for the candidate participant in terms of effectively putting their new knowledge into practice within their organisation after the course
  • Subjective criteria: personal motivation as to how the programme can make a difference to the organisation in question and demonstration of how the organisation makes a difference in society

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