Dr Pillay was appointed as the Director for the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) at the Durban University of Technology in July 2015. The CSE falls under the Research, Innovation and Engagement Portfolio (RIE) in the Vice-Chancellor’s office and is funded by the Department of Small Business Development. Through the CSE, Dr Pillay works within the Footwear and Leather Sector and the
Clothing and Textile Sector to develop social businesses within communities. Some of the key projects initiated by Dr Pillay include the Centre of Footwear Entrepreneurship with the KZN Footwear and Leather Cluster in Chatsworth, the Skin Processing Project in Pietermaritzburg and the partnership with the Gandhi Trust to support enterprises within the Informal Settlement of Bhambayi that borders on the Gandhi Settlement in Inanda. In addition to the community projects, the CSE supports and mentors student businesses at the University. Dr Pillay has presented papers on social entrepreneurship internationally and she has co-authored journals and chapters for books on business models and participatory action research.