In November of 2019, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it would be investing R365 million in its Equity Equivalent Investment Program (EEIP) to develop sustainable 100 percent Black-owned small-scale IT businesses in the region. The company is continuing with the initiative, opening up applications for businesses in 2021.
With SMEs in the country suffering greatly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, initiatives like this should prove pivotal in breathing new life into a struggling sector.
“EEIPs are South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) approved initiatives, aimed at providing multinational companies an opportunity to take part in local societal development and contribute towards economic advancement and inclusion of black people and black owned businesses in South Africa,” explains a press release sent to Hypertext about the announcement.
Those IT businesses that are successful with their EEIP application will take part in an 18 to 24-month long, “enablement and acceleration program” adds AWS, with the hyperscaler noting that businesses with a turnover under R50 million will be deemed eligible for applying.
“The program is designed to help these businesses onboard to AWS and accelerate their journey to becoming Select and Advanced Tier Consulting or Technology Partners on the AWS Partner Network (APN),” adds the company.
It adds that those IT businesses taking part in the program will gain access to AWS-specific tools such as:
- “The AWS Partner Transformation Program (PTP); a comprehensive assessment, training, and enablement program focused on helping partners build a successful and profitable AWS Cloud business
- Cloud Center of Excellence bootcamps and enterprise development consulting, which can help partners operationalize their PTP
- Headcount subsidies, which give partners much needed financial support to hire and expand teams
- AWS Training and Certification
- Cash grants to pay for operating expenses, go-to-market funding, AWS Promotional Credit, and fully subsidized APN fees.”
The application closing date is soon, with it set to close on 15th April for 2021, but more detail on the program can be found here.