Black Umbrellas is a project initially spearheaded by Cape Town social entrepreneurs Charles Maisel and Mark Frankel to support SMMEs.

In 2009, the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, then the Shanduka Foundation, partnered with Black Umbrellas to position the project on a national level. With a R5.2 million investment, Black Umbrellas set up and started operations in its Gauteng main office.

Black Umbrellas was established as a non‐profit enterprise, and is a development incubation organisation with partners in the private sector, government and civil society that addresses the low levels of entrepreneurship and high failure rate of 100% black owned emerging businesses in South Africa. Today there are nine incubators countrywide.

The programme focuses on promoting entrepreneurship as a desirable economic path, and through its incubators, nurtures 100% black‐owned businesses in the critical first three years of their existence.

Black Umbrellas works through a platform of co‐operation between civil society, the private sector and government, so that the correct resources, skills development, mentoring and access to markets are in place to support growth at all levels.

By providing a structured and subsidised programme and using a national footprint of business incubation offices, Black Umbrellas’ clients are afforded the expertise, office infrastructure and resources over the critical first three years of operation, to create the important foundations to achieve sustainable businesses.

Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, is deeply committed to the vision of Black Umbrellas as a catalyst in the development of entrepreneurs, a sector he has identified as critical to the empowerment of historically marginalised South Africans.



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