When two worlds meet

NPOs benefit from Vlerick Social Profit Grant

Thanks to the Vlerick Social Profit Grant, Joris Rossie, Managing Director at Oxfam Fairtrade/Oxfam World Shops, joined the Advanced Management Programme last year and brought to it a different outlook on strategic leadership.

The Social Profit Grant is one of the ways in which Vlerick takes corporate social responsibility by contributing to the professionalisation of the social economy. The grant targets those organisations that lack the resources to invest in management education, but that are eager to develop their management skills and knowledge. “I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do the programme without the grant,” says Joris. “And yet what I learned will certainly benefit the organisation I work for. This form of social responsibility adds value to the School, giving it a competitive edge in an economy in which the profit and not-for-profit markets are increasingly overlapping.”


The mix of programme participants from the profit and not-for-profit sectors stimulates lively discussion in the classroom. “There were numerous ping-pong types of debate during the course,” Joris recalls. “And it was clear that we could all learn from each other. The non-profit sector has such a different mindset to the profit sector and often very different objectives. NPOs have to carefully balance stakeholder and shareholder interest, but all too often, there’s a lack of clear strategy and focus. As an NPO, you can learn from the business approach of daring to make choices, setting objectives and developing a clear path to achieve them. As a profit organisation, you can learn that competition can be turned into collaboration, without having to put yourself out of the market. By the end of the programme, we all realised that the two sectors can grow more towards each other. It is possible to combine social responsibility with profitability. And it is possible to carry out ‘business unusual’ with efficiency and professionalism.”

Vlerick Social Profit Grant

The grant covers tuition fees and applies to all open executive management programmes. Since its launch in 2010, the grant has been awarded to 30 course participants from non-profit organisations (NPOs), including Brussels Jazz Orchestra, CultuurNet Vlaanderen, Max Havelaar and, of course, Oxfam.

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