Black Umbrellas supports emerging black businesses through incubation programmes, enabling them to emerge as independent, viable businesses. The model is a tiered approach, in which incubation clients transition and bolster their business through successive levels of activation.


and Selection

Pre incubation

(3 months)

Ignition and Integration

(3 years)


  • Orientation.
  • Pre-feasibility.
  • Determine fit.
  • Lean start-up hybrid.
  • Business plan.
  • Basic compliance.
  • Selection panel.
  • Developing technical and business skills.
  • Procurement finance and market ready.
  • Implementing business plan.
  • Increasing participation in supply chain.
  • Increasing jobs, net profit, net asset value.

Business Selection, Matching

and Assessment

Business Development and Growth

Impact numbers


Businesses incubated since 2006


Businesses currently in incubation




Jobs created and preserved since inception

R 3 B

Turnover generated by incubation clients since inception

R 247 M

Tax contributions by incubation clients since inception

Mark Frankel new CEO of Black Umbrellas

Mark Frankel was appointed the new CEO of Black Umbrellas with effect from 1 November 2019. Mark is Black Umbrellas co-founder and served as its CEO previously, from April 2010 to June 2015. Mark has a proven track record in developing purpose-led initiatives and driving innovation. Prior to reassuming the role of CEO, Mark served as an Executive Director at Combi Group, Chief Financial Officer at Kombo King, and Finance Director at Master Currency.The Foundation bid farewell to Seapei Mafoyane who served as CEO for seven years and wished her success in her new endeavours.

10th Anniversary

Black Umbrellas celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019. Initiated by social entrepreneurs Charles Maisel and Mark Frankel, partnered with the Foundation in 2009 to scale up the project countrywide with a R5.2 million investment in the set up and operations of a Johannesburg office.


Over the 10 years, Black Umbrellas incubated businesses have made a meaningful contribution to job creation and revenue generation in South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the Foundation, congratulated Black Umbrellas on its 10th anniversary. “The innovation and aptitude, drive, determination and consequent success of Black Umbrellas’ entrepreneurs is inspiring. I know that it will enjoy further success in

the years to come and continue to make its commendable contribution to overcoming

the challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty in South Africa,” he said.

2019 InBIA Award Winner

Black Umbrellas was named the recipient of the 2019 International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) awards in the USA. The prestigious InBIA award, awarded now for the second time to Black Umbrellas, ranks Black Umbrellas among the foremost incubation programmes in the world.

Given Seolwana
VHG HR and Payroll Consulting.

Given is the founder and managing director of VHG HR and Payroll Consulting. Her entrepreneurial journey began when she registered VHG HR and Payroll Consulting in 2017 to fulfil her passion for human resource management and running her own enterprise. In the same year, she joined the Black Umbrellas programme as a pure start-up. Since joining the programme, VHG HR and Payroll Consulting has grown from one employee to a team of three dedicated professionals with an annual turnover of R498 000.

When I registered my business with Black Umbrellas, I had no idea how I was going to get it off the ground. Black Umbrellas has given me a variety of opportunities to stand in front of potential clients and sell my service. It is always good to have a ‘big brother’ to guide you especially where there are pitfalls. I am also grateful to have an opportunity to have a mentor and Enterprise Development Manager coaching me. Their feedback has been highly appreciated and resulted in the growth of my business.

Evelyn Maphoto
Setumishi Building Construction

Evelyn joined Black Umbrellas in 2014 as the owner of Setumishi Building Construction. It currently employs over 30 permanent staff and contract workers. The company generates an annual turnover of over R10 Million, five times its value prior to joining the Black Umbrellas incubator. Driven by the needs of her community, Evelyn is exploring agriculture in the form of animal and crop production. Her plans are to set up a plant and equipment hire division in the mining sector.