Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an company, recently launched its Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (AWS EEIP), designed by Amazon Web Services South Africa and Amazon Data Services South Africa. The AWS EEIP will see over R365 million invested in the development of sustainable 100% black-owned South African small businesses in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, supporting them to become cloud computing experts using the AWS Partner Network (APN). The EEIP is a programme of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), aimed at providing multinational companies an opportunity to take part in the development of South African black-owned small businesses and contribute towards broad-based black economic empowerment in South Africa.

AWS invests in South Africas tech entrepreneurs

The AWS EEIP is a seven-year programme that will support the growth of new black-owned small businesses, helping them to develop their skills in advanced technologies such as cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), mobile technologies, and more. Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, noted: “The AWS EEIP will lead to the development of numerous highly skilled jobs in the local economy. The intention of the programme is to give the black-owned small businesses the knowledge, resources, and skills to be successful. This will enable them to provide professional services to organisations, in both the private and public sectors, supporting them with their ICT strategies and helping them to take advantage of cloud computing and other digital technologies to innovate and grow. We aim to develop local businesses and ensure net job creation in the South African economy.”

The AWS EEIP will support the small businesses through an 18- to 24-month enterprise development and incubation programme. AWS will provide training and education and support the businesses’ in growing their technical expertise in cloud computing – developing new AWS Certified Developers and Solutions Architects. 

The businesses will also receive business enablement support, such as exposure to industry leaders, coaching, mentorship, and funding to help take their business to the next stage of growth. As they complete their training and gain AWS competencies, they will go up a tier in the APN, becoming Select or Advanced Partners. On completion of the programme, they will have access to AWS’s ecosystem of millions of active customers, of every size, across virtually every industry, around the world. Successful completion of the programme will also afford the businesses exposure to opportunities beyond those presented by AWS.

Prabashni Naidoo, Director at Amazon Web Services South Africa, said: “We have been blown away with the high quality of technical talent we have already seen in South Africa and are excited to see the creativity and unique thinking that the AWS EEIP will now drive. Through this new programme, we are committed to producing a new generation of highly skilled and productive black-owned South African small businesses. These new APN Partners will help create limitless opportunities for our customers, helping them to innovate and further contribute to economic growth in South Africa.”

The AWS EEIP offers the South Africa’s technical entrepreneurs the opportunity to build businesses that can flourish locally and have the potential to expand internationally. Importantly, this initiative supports the country’s aim to transform the economy and create inclusive participation.

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