Black Umbrellas is an enterprise and supplier development (ESD) incubation organisation that partners with entrepreneurs, enterprises, investors and communities, to drive an inclusive and sustainable economic future by enabling the success of emerging SMEs.

Black Umbrellas NPC was established as a Non-Profit Company in 2005 with the object of providing resources, training and support to emerging black-owned small, medium and micro enterprises. The primary purpose of the company has always been to address the high levels of economic inequality in South Africa, and the resultant high levels of poverty and unemployment, by providing qualifying black entrepreneurs with the confidence and skills to go after their dreams and build businesses with the necessary foundations for sustainable growth.

.While our programmes and platforms are available to any business at any stage of their development, our primary enabler is the Enterprise and Supplier Development requirements of the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice.

Our consultancy business, together with CGC Consulting, provides an end to end supplier development solution from strategic supply chain and procurement de-risking and optimisation to designing development roadmaps for existing and potential suppliers as well as the sourcing of suitable suppliers.

The Black Umbrellas Mianzo SMME ESD Debt Fund provides pre-invoice working capital finance to businesses receiving non-financial support from Black Umbrellas.

Black Umbrellas Payment Accelerator is a patented supply chain finance and invoice validation platform that provides businesses with access to the short term finance solutions they need to grow.

We operate in a multi-stakeholder collaborative environment 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 entrepreneurs, Black Umbrellas works through a platform of co-operation between civil society, the private sector and government so that the correct resources, skills , support and opportunities are in place to support development at all levels.

Our story

Black Umbrellas was first conceived by Cape Town social entrepreneurs Charles Maisel and Mark Frankel to support 100% black owned SMMEs. In 2009 the Shanduka Foundation (now Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation) partnered with Black Umbrellas to escalate the project countrywide with R5.2 million invested in the set up and operation of the Johannesburg incubator. Cyril Ramaphosa, patron of the 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.


We are a sum of our parts

Who we partner with is an indication of our success. Since the early days of our inception, we have partnered with the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, supporting the Foundation’s vision of a South Africa that fosters an inclusive and empowered society. We have also collaborated with industry-leading corporations, innovative foundations, impactful development groups, and investment firms such as:

Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation

Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment

Center for Regenerative Design and Collaboration (CRDC)

Council for Scientific and Industiral Research (CSIR)

Innovator Trust

Macsteel Usizo programme

Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA)

SAICA Enterprise Development

The Hope Factory

The South African National Blood Service

Ceed Learning