3 SMMEs in the Black Umbrellas Programme
That You Should Know About

For over a decade, Black Umbrellas has developed black-owned businesses across a range of sectors. With the mission of growing the economy through viable and sustainable enterprises, Black Umbrellas continuously partners with entrepreneurs, enterprises, communities and investors to ensure the ultimate success of these businesses. As an organisation with a distinct vision and mission, it would be difficult to measure the impact of partnerships and overall efforts without hearing and seeing the tangible developments of businesses in the programme. It is one thing to say that an organisation develops businesses, but it is quite a different thing to see the results of that development.

Though Covid-19 has posed unprecedented threats to the survival of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the beneficiaries of the Black Umbrellas programme have, time and time again, proven themselves resilient and steadfast. In celebration of these businesses, and in acknowledgement of Black Umbrellas’ impact, here are three businesses proving the value of support through meaningful incubation.

Profound Travel and Tours

Sbusiso Mhlongo

Profound Travel and Tours is a startup destination management company based in KwaZulu-Natal. The company’s products and services include exciting holiday packages, convenient transport arrangements, unforgettable sightseeing and other travel-related services throughout Southern Africa. Services are primarily offered online through social media platforms and an e-commerce website.

According to the company’s founder, Sbusiso Mhlongo, joining Black Umbrellas in 2020 helped the company to survive the tough economic conditions presented by Covid-19. “Not all has been doom and gloom,” he said. “Through the advice, motivation, and support of the Black Umbrellas team in Durban, the company is still operational”. Networking opportunities were also some of the company’s highlights after joining the programme, ultimately leading to the acquisition of a major client, LOVE LIFE South Africa.

Above the operational improvements that training and mentorship have facilitated, Profound Travel and Tours was able to conduct two tours last year as a result of the Black Umbrellas COVID 19 grant support. Without this support, Mhlongo is of the belief that these tours would not have been possible.


James Mafa

RETHBETH (Pty) Ltd is a sanitation company that offers toilet hire, sanitation equipment supply, fumigation, pest control, enviro-loo services and septic tank services. Founded in 2020 by James Mafa and Maggie Ramolobeng, the company primarily services disadvantaged communities in the rural and surrounding areas of Lephalale, Limpopo.

Before joining the Black Umbrellas programme, Mafa had never written a business plan. As he reflects on the experience of receiving training and mentorship through Black Umbrellas, he recalls the programme being rigorous and challenging. Having persevered through it, however, the founder of RETHBETH wouldn’t trade the invaluable lessons for anything. “I learned how to draw up a business plan, market my business through better channels, get contacts from big businesses, and became a member of other business support entities,” he said.

Today, RETHBETH is fully operational, with 2 contracts from Securelife Security Services and Magovheni Civil and Construction. The company now has a bakkie and 11 portable toilets, 9 of which are currently on the sites of Eskom substations and CNC’s. Although RETHBETH has made great strides in a short space of time, these successes only mark the very beginning of a fruitful journey. Mafa shows no signs of stopping, with short-term goals that include securing a larger contract from a company like Eskom, Exxaro, or Anglo Platinum.

Servicing schools, households, construction sites and other industries, Mafa and his team have created a company that is not only profitable, but speaks to the immediate needs of its community. With the training, coaching and mentorship received from Black Umbrellas, the company has been formalised, putting it in a great position to acquire stellar partnerships, create more jobs and market its way to a better tomorrow.

Sika Creative Agency

The Sika Creative Agency Team

Liat Madinane had a dream: to help corporates tell stories that communicated their brand, and spread their message. To this end, she created Sika Creative Agency (Pty) LTD in KwaZulu-Natal. The company is a branding and communications agency, positioning itself as a forerunner in corporate storytelling. To help her get started, Liat joined Black Umbrellas, where she receives training, mentorship and coaching to get her business off the ground.

Liat’s story is one of success; of dogged persistence in a time of global economic hardship caused by the pandemic. It is also the story of relentless pursuit of excellence in all she does. Sika Creative Agency is equipped with the skills and expertise to communicate brand messages through marketing, branding and communications services.

“I joined BU because I want to build a strong and sustainable business and I believe that in order to do that, I need training and development,” she said. Liat believes that a platform like BU, one that has been developed for entrepreneurs, equips her with the right knowledge, exposure and experience to be a better leader and entrepreneur. “I strongly believe I was born to be an entrepreneur and that I am doing what I was born to do!”