Cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services plans to invest more than R365-million in developing 100% black-owned small ICT businesses in South Africa as part of an “equity equivalence” programme.
AWS, which is owned by Amazon.com, said the equity equivalent investment programme, or EEIP, will support the companies to become cloud computing experts using the AWS partner network.
The move comes ahead of AWS opening its first data centre in South Africa next year — in Cape Town.
EEIP is a programme of the department of trade & industry and allows multinational companies to invest in supporting BEE in South Africa without selling an equity stake in their businesses to local investors.
“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, machine learning, mobile technologies and more,” the company said in a statement on Monday.
“The AWS EEIP will lead to the development of numerous highly skilled jobs in the local economy,” said trade & industry minister Ebrahim Patel in the statement.
“The intention of the programme is to give the black-owned small businesses the knowledge, resources and skills to be successful,” Patel said. “This will enable them to provide professional services to organisations 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.”
Training and support
The programme will support the black-owned small businesses through an 18-24-month enterprise development and incubation programme. AWS will provide training and support the development of these businesses’ technical expertise in cloud computing — resulting in new AWS certified developers and solutions architects, the company said.
“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 partner network, becoming Select or Advanced Partners. Upon completion of the programme, 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 programe will also enable the businesses to have exposure to opportunities beyond that of AWS.” — © 2019 NewsCentral Media