This chapter examines both the ideological and the practical elements of Black economic empowerment (BEE), the focus is on BEE as an elite practice. It demonstrates that BEE has fallen on tough times and the state has only been able to ensure limited success in fulfilling its most important mandate – the creation of a black bourgeoisie. The method by which BEE is advanced in the business sector is through the activation of black empowerment companies. Although black empowerment companies have been set up with the support of white business, they face many problems. Many of the black directors involved on white boards or in black empowerment companies also face obstruction from the dominant white business hierarchy. Black directors and black empowerment companies are limited in what they can achieve, given the structures of South African capitalism. Trade unions may suffer if their union investment companies lose money from high-risk investments.