Black Umbrellas is an enterprise development incubation organisation partnering with the private sector, government and civil society to address the low levels of entrepreneurship and high failure rate of 100% black owned emerging businesses in the African continent.


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


The advancement of black entrepreneurs and small business development is at the heart of the Black Umbrellas programme. It is a multi-stakeholder collaboration with the common purpose of achieving economic and social change through action, inspiration and support. In order to create a sustainable programme to harness and strengthen Africa’s black entrepreneurs, 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 development at all levels.


By providing a structured and subsidised programme, using a national footprint of business incubation offices, our clients are afforded the expertise, office infrastructure and resources over a 3 year period to create the important foundations to achieve sustainable businesses. It requires commitment and hard work on the part of our clients, over and above their passion for their service or product, to graduate from the programme to become owners of independent and viable businesses. This is a vital initiative to transform the African economy by linking big business to smaller suppliers and increasing the economic opportunities that arise out of enterprise development.


The imperative to reshape South Africa’s economic environment is at a critical stage, with unemployment rates increasing to 25.20 in the first quarter of 2014, a scenario largely unchanged since 2000.


Furthermore, South Africa has one of the lowest levels of entrepreneurship in the world, contributing to 35% of GDP compared to 60% in countries like India and Brazil. For those South Africans who do manage to start a business, fewer than 20% make it past the first two years.


Yet it is SMMEs who comprise 97.5 percent of businesses, providing formal and informal employment and a route out of poverty to millions.


It is critical to make the fundamental foundational shift to an economy that supports the entrepreneurs who will be the businesses of tomorrow.


By creating new markets, business models and employment opportunities, African business enterprises have the potential to set the economy in motion towards a brighter, more equitable future.

How It Works

The Black Umbrellas model is aimed at supporting emerging black businesses through the incubation programme so that they are able to emerge as independent, viable businesses.


Fundamental to the success of the model is a tiered intervention, where applicants/clients transition and bolster their business through successive levels of activation. The programme activation begins with a pre-incubation phase (3 months), followed by full incubation (3 years) through to graduation.



The Black Umbrellas model uses its national reach to enable clients to benefit from guided mentorship, through which clients receive the transfer of business skills, knowledge and network linkages.


The businesses are assessed for their credit risk and an advisory committee offers their technical experience to assess the weaknesses and strengths of the businesses.

Ongoing support through the incubation centres and the office infrastructure linked to these include:


  • Bookkeeping services at standard rates;
  • Access to networking & marketing events;
  • Ongoing mentoring;
  • Assistance with finance access;
  • Workshops aimed at business & personal development.


Currently incubators are fully operational in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Mooinooi, Lephalale, Pretoria, Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth. With one underway in Burgersfort.



Central Support Office


011 592 6401




021 447 7156


JOHANNESBURG | 010 590 5555


CAPE TOWN | 021 447 7156


DURBAN | 031 327 3200


PRETORIA | 012 342 5678


PORT ELIZABETH | 041 501 3400


RICHARDS BAY | 035 901 8760


MOOINOOI | 011 100 1738


LEPHALALE | 014 763 1820


SOWETO | 010 060 4410



Our Hotline is available

24 Hours a day







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