Cloud can fast-track SA small business growth, counter unemployment

The cloud can help mitigate job losses in SA, says AWS.

Johannesburg, 06 Aug 2020
Read time 2min 40sec
Zubin Chagpar: head of MEA, Public Sector Sales at AWS
Zubin Chagpar: head of MEA, Public Sector Sales at AWS

Amid rising unemployment, the cloud presents a low-risk, low barrier to entry opportunity for would-be entrepreneurs to launch businesses in South Africa. This is according to Zubin Chagpar: Head of MEA, AWS Public Sector Sales, who was speaking ahead of a series of AWS webinars on cloud technologies and the opportunities they offer.

AWS, which is also conducting a survey on cloud adoption and trends in South Africa, believes cloud services enable start-ups in South Africa to think big and accelerate economic growth: “Start-ups and entrepreneurs are key to the South African economy. They are a driver of economic growth and create jobs and they can help bring down South Africa’s high 30.1% unemployment rate,” says Chagpar.

He says cloud services dramatically lower the barrier to entry for start-ups and small businesses: “Any start-up with an Internet connection can gain access to the same technology infrastructure that was previously only available to the world’s largest enterprises. If ideas don’t work out, they can quickly shut them down without any wasted investments,” he notes.

Outlining the ways in which AWS enables start-ups and businesses of all sizes, Chagpar says: “Because we don’t require any upfront investment, AWS allows start-ups to get started quickly. For those that are successful, AWS helps start-ups to scale as they need to, without worrying about IT infrastructure. This allows entrepreneurs to develop and experiment with technologies that may otherwise be out of reach and expand their business across Africa and around the world.”

A good example of a start-up in South Africa that is using AWS to provide speed of delivery and scalability while keeping costs down is GovChat. South Africa’s largest citizen engagement platform built its chatbot using AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service and Amazon Lex for voice and text conversational interfaces. Additionally, GovChat leverages the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region – ensuring the sensitive data of citizens stayed inside South Africa.

Another example of a start-up that took an idea and went global with it is Entersekt, an authentication and mobile application security company. The company is using AWS to send fully encrypted data from their banking customers’ on-premises environments to the cloud. This high level of security helps Entersekt’s customers across 45 countries to secure over 150 million transactions per month, drastically reducing the fraud rates for online and mobile banking and payment. As a result of using AWS, Entersekt now counts some of the largest banks in Africa, such as Absa, Capital Bank and Nedbank, as customers. Using AWS has also given Entersekt high scalability from day one – something that would have been impossible without the cloud.

AWS, in collaboration with ITWeb, will explore trends and opportunities to drive growth and innovation through cloud technology in a webinar to be held on Thursday, 3 September. For more information, and to register for this event, click here.

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