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AWS opens applications for SME support programme

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer
Johannesburg, 22 Mar 2024
Participating SMEs can tap into Amazon systems, skills and knowledge.
Participating SMEs can tap into Amazon systems, skills and knowledge.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) South Africa is inviting ICT-focused SMEs to apply for the 2024 edition of the Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP).

Having successfully incubated and helped support 27 local SMEs since 2020, AWS says its EEIP seeks to add another 20 success stories.

The 18- to 24-month partner acceleration programme aims to assist black-owned SMEs to launch their businesses.

These SMEs become part of a global cohort of over 120 000 AWS Partner Network (APN) businesses. Participating SMEs can tap into Amazon systems, skills and knowledge. They will gain access to local and international market opportunities, while creating jobs in the country’s economy, notes the company.

Chris Erasmus, country manager at AWS South Africa, says: “These SMEs are critical drivers of our economic future. As a major player in cloud, we have a duty to work with our customers to empower growth from within, going all the way from funding, to training, to business development.

“We differentiate ourselves by walking the journey with our SMEs to achieve success. Through this programme, we have built lasting relationships and provided ongoing support to our SMEs. Our teams work closely with the SME partners and AWS customers.

“We are especially proud of the female-founded SMEs, like One Linkage and Melio AI, which achieved APN Advance tier partner status in less than one year on the programme.”

The EEIP will focus on empowering female and youth entrepreneurs in 2024, according to AWS. Past participants have already helped secure over 150 jobs for South African youth, it says.

Collectively, AWS EEIP SME partners have achieved over 603 AWS certifications, 1 032 AWS accreditations and have on average grown their revenue by 126% since joining the programme.

AWS says it prioritises 100% South African black-owned SMEs in the ICT sector and SMEs that use technology to deliver industry solutions.

These SMEs will grow and establish their businesses using AWS cloud and cloud computing services to solve their customer problems, contribute to job creation and create economic development in SA.

Applications are open to level one exempted micro enterprises, or qualifying small enterprises in line with the Amended ICT Sector Codes on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.

All applications will be evaluated for programme eligibility, completeness and programme fit. Phase two of the process invites all applicants to a technical screening, followed by background checks and a final business interview.

Successful applicants will be on-boarded by the end of July.

SMEs have until 12 April to apply by visiting the AWS website. Additional information can be found in the programme guide.