Durban11 July 2012: Executive chairman of the Shanduka Group Cyril Ramaphosa today officially opened the Durban incubator of Shanduka Black Umbrellas, a non-profit company involved in the support of emerging black businesses through enterprise development.
The creation of Shanduka Black Umbrellas (SBU) in KwaZulu Natal at the end of last year is already beginning to be felt on the ground. The launch of the Durban incubator saw more than 400 entrepreneurs apply to be part of the programme – so far 24 have been taken on board, all of whom are already creating employment.
Growing sustainable businesses
SBU Durban has already signed an important Memorandum of Understanding with the eThekwini Municipality, a partnership which seeks to actively grow sustainable businesses that are able to provide quality products and services to both the public and private sector.
SBU – a non-profit SME incubation service provider which began operating in 2005 – affords collaboration opportunities between 100 percent black owned businesses, government, the private sector and civil society. It provides its SMEs with a solid foundation through subsidised infrastructural support, on-going mentoring and training as well as access to markets and has incubators in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Ramaphosa sees Shanduka Black Umbrellas as a catalyst in the development of business skills and entrepreneurship, a sector he believes is one of the most critical ingredients in ensuring the economic empowerment of historically disadvantaged people in South Africa.
“We have shown that our model is effective in getting small businesses to flourish and to create employment. Statistics show that of those who do manage to start their own business; fewer than 20 percent survive past the first two years. We help combat this through the SBU programme. In my view, real black economic empowerment is done at the small business level, therefore to advance the economy and create jobs we must support SMEs.” he says.
Black Umbrellas was a project first conceived by social entrepreneurs Charles Maisel and Mark Frankel and proved to be highly effective in supporting SMMEs in Cape Town. The model was adopted by the Shanduka Foundation in 2009. Shanduka has spent more than R12 million on the initiative. When setting up Shanduka Group, Ramaphosa set aside five percent of its shareholding to two trusts – Fundani Education Trust and Mabindu Business Development Trust. Shanduka Black Umbrellas is supported through The Mabindu Trust.
Shanduka Black Umbrellas’ overall long term goal is to:
- Open 10 Shanduka Black Umbrellas incubators within South Africa
- Eventually support an average of 50 SMEs per incubator with each SMME remaining with Shanduka Black Umbrellas for a maximum of three years
- Ensure that at least 50 percent of the SMEs joining Shanduka Black Umbrellas become sustainable within the three year period
- Support SMEs that generate R3,6 billion in turnover and create 7 300 jobs over a ten year period.