SOUTH AFRICA – Amazon Web Services, Inc., a service that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms, has announced the launch of the Amazon Web Services Equity Equivalent Investment Program (AWS EEIP), designed by Amazon Web Services South Africa and Amazon Data Services South Africa.

The AWS EEIP will see over R365 million (US$24.6m) invested in the development of sustainable 100 percent black-owned South African small businesses.

They will be within the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector and will support them to become cloud computing experts using the AWS Partner Network (APN).

EEIP is a program of the Department of Trade and Industry, aimed at providing multinational companies an opportunity to take part in the development of South African black-owned small businesses and to contribute towards the broad-based black economic empowerment of South Africa.

The AWS EEIP is a seven-year program 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.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel said, “The AWS EEIP will lead to the development of numerous highly skilled jobs in the local economy. 

“The intention of the program 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 organizations, in both the private and public sectors, supporting them with their ICT strategy and helping them to take advantage of cloud computing and other digital technologies in order to innovate and grow.

“We seek to develop local businesses and ensure net job creation in the South African economy”.

The AWS EEIP will support the black-owned small businesses through an 18 – 24-month enterprise development and incubation program.

AWS will provide training and education and support the development of these businesses’ technical expertise in cloud computing – resulting in new AWS Certified Developers and Solutions Architects. 

These 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 these businesses complete their training, and gain AWS competencies, they will go up a tier in the APN, becoming Select or Advanced Partners.

Upon completion of the program, these businesses 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 enable the businesses to have exposure to opportunities beyond that of AWS.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) will add Cape Town to its 21 global infrastructure availability regions and the unit should be operational early in 2020, AWS global infrastructure and customer support head Peter Desantis said.