The Black Umbrellas programme is designed to offer 100% emerging black owned businesses support and infrastructure through a tiered business incubation model.


Programme Structure


The programme is structured in phases to ensure the sustainability of the enterprises. The three key sections of the incubation programme include:


  • Selection
  • Pre-Incubation
  • Full Incubation

It’s changed my life personally as I’m more disciplined, more goal focused and then at least I can afford to survive because I’m earning something from the business. We are also an inspiration as a business to the young people in our community at large. In a nutshell it has changed my personality, the way I think, the way I see life.

  • Selection

    1. Applicants contact Black Umbrellas telephonically or via the website and are then invited to complete an online application and business validation questionnaire. The questionnaire is based on a scoring system, if the applicant achieves a score of .4 and above, they are then invited to attend an orientation session.
    2. After attending the orientation workshop and pre-marketing presentation, applicants submit their forms. They will receive a checklist of statutory and tax documentation.
    3. Once the applicant has returned the form and supporting documentation, they are assessed within a 2-week timeframe.
    4. If successful, applicants are invited for interviews. Thereafter credit and criminal checks are conducted.
    5. Thereafter COPAS pyschometric assessments are conducted in the incubator.
    6. Applicants that meet the Black Umbrellas criteria are invited to join the pre-incubation programme. If at this stage the applicant has a feasible business plan, they may be invited to slot into the full incubation programme.
  • Pre-incubation

    Once selected, the applicant joins the 3-month pre-incubation programme. They will attend a business plan workshop to help them research, prepare and ultimately present a feasible and viable business plan that will form the basis of their development during full incubation. At this stage applicants also have limited access to the incubator facilities to conduct research, and to attend mandatory online SARS, Companies Act, Consumer Protection Act and B-BBEE workshops. An Enterprise Development Manager is on hand to assist with advice and queries. At the end of the 3-month period a selection panel assesses the client’s business to determine their suitability for full incubation.

  • Full Incubation

    Successful applicants, now clients, who join the full incubation programme can choose between resident and remote incubation.


    Resident incubation includes the use of all incubation facilities, including a dedicated workstation/cubicle/lock-up office. Virtual incubation caters for clients who have their own business premises, but require assistance with access to procurement, finance and networking.


    The following form part of a mandatory agreement between the client and Black Umbrellas at this stage:


    • Clients are required to co-operate with the Enterprise Development Manager;
    • Participate in the mentoring programme;
    • Submit financial records to the incubator bookkeeper by the 5th of each month (or if they have their own bookkeeper, by the 20th of the month).


    Full Incubation: Ignition Phase (3 months)


    On acceptance to resident or remote incubation, the client is required to participate in a 3-month high impact ‘boot camp’ which includes various business training courses. The aim of this is to ensure the business is procurement and finance ready and that there are clear, measurable and achievable deliverables in place.


    Full Incubation: Integration (12 months) and Graduation Feeder (9 months)


    This is the period to intensify activities towards the growth of the business. At this stage clients should be ready to access procurement and finance opportunities.


    Full Incubation: Graduation Phase (12 months)


    The important step of ensuring the readiness of clients to graduate from the incubator entails:


    • A snapshot of what infrastructure is required to operate the business independently;
    • Assistance to clients so that they are able to secure funding for expansion and growth.


    Graduation and award ceremonies are held to acknowledge the journey of clients from emerging start-ups to viable, functional businesses. Thereafter post-graduation support is offered through:


    • Bookkeeping services based on standard rates;
    • Access to networking & marketing events;
    • Ongoing mentoring (subject to agreement with mentor);
    • Assistance with access to finance;
    • Workshops on business and personal development.




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



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