Ramaphosa spreads extends SME incubator program to Durban

Prominent businessman Cyril Ramaphosa officially launched the Durban wing of his fledging enterprise development program, the Shanduka Black Umbrellas.

Shanduka Black Umbrellas is a non-profit company involved in the support of emerging black businesses through enterprise development and connected to Ramaphosa’s growing business empire operating under the name Shanduka Group.

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.

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 SMME (Small Medium and Micro Enterprise) 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 SMMEs 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 SMMEs.” 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.

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