AWS EEIP offers Black-owned startups up to R7.5m in funding

  • The AWS Equity Equivalent Investment Program, now in its fourth year of running, is looking to provide funding to black-owned and led startups.
  • Startups can receive up to R7.5 million in funding without losing equity in their company.
  • Applications for the program close on 10th August 2023.

Starting a business, especially a business based in the technology space can be a massive risk for some and AWS wants to help historically disadvantaged people make a success of their ventures.

By 2029, AWS hopes to contribute as much as R80 billion to South Africa’s GDP through its operations.

Part of that investment began in 2019 with the AWS Equity Equivalent Investment Program (AWS EEIP). This program, now in its fourth year, has once again opened and a call for applications has been made. Specifically, AWS is looking to help 100 percent black-owned and operated businesses in South Africa.

Despite the use of “equity” in the program’s name, AWS assures entrepreneurs this program won’t cost them equity in their company.

The AWS EEIP gives black-owned and led startups access to up to R7.5 million in funding and program benefits over 24 months. This capital can be used to pay staff, pay for office space and cover other costs incurred during the course of running a business. In addition, startups receive AWS technical service credits that can be used to build and grow solutions on AWS.

“Our commitment to South Africa is growth, since starting the program three years ago. It’s been phenomenal to small businesses grow and thrive offering their products globally through the program. It’s a culmination of our commitment to deliver B-BBEE programs that go beyond transformation and deliver long-term impact to our customers,” explains Nomzamo Xaba, program manager at AWS.

To be eligible for this funding startups must be 100 percent black-owned and either be building or plan to build solutions using the AWS Cloud. Applicants must have a Level 1 B-BBEE rating and must be an Exempted Micro Enterprise or Qualifying Small Enterprise. Female led businesses will be given preference.

Applications are currently open but close on 10th August. Successful applicants will be selected by 22nd September. Applications must be submitted at this website along with a valid B-BBEE certificate or affidavit, confirmation of revenue band and a CIPC disclosure certificate.

“Being in the development space, I’ve seen quite a lot of startup programs, and I must say that the AWS EEIP program has been thought out to focus on our needs as young founders. It’s been intertwined so my success is its success,” says Hepsy Mkhungo, chief executive at One Linkage, a firm that participated in the program in 2021.

“If it wasn’t for the program, we probably wouldn’t be here,” added the CEO.

This looks like a great opportunity and given that business owners won’t have to give up equity, we highly recommend submitting an application before 10th August.


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