As part of the B-BBEE Level 1 status, AWS South Africa has achieved maximum points for Enterprise Development, Supplier Development and Ownership elements of the scorecard upon first verification.

AWS South Africa's other initiatives, contributing to its Level 1 status, include:
  • funding for small business
  • the Amazon Web Services Equity Equivalent Investment Programme, and
  • skills development programmes delivered through AWS Academy and AWS Educate.
"We are thrilled to attain a B-BBEE Level 1 status," says Prabashni Naidoo, director at Amazon Web Services South Africa. "This is a continuation of our commitment to support the transformation and economic development of South Africa."

"Our Enterprise and Supplier Development programmes will enable small businesses to flourish. As these businesses grow, AWS cloud services will help transform their operations and allow them to compete on a global scale. In addition, our skills development programmes will help grow the next generation of highly skilled South African developers and engineers," adds Naidoo.

A priority element in the B-BBEE scorecard, according to AWS, is Skills Development, as this element is helping to increase youth skills and employability across the country.

For over two years, AWS South Africa has been working with education institutions to help train cloud professionals through the AWS Academy and AWS Educate. These include:
  • Durban University of Technology
  • Stellenbosch University, and
  • University of Cape Town.
According to AWS, hundreds of students in South Africa are benefitting from the AWS Academy programme, an introductory course that provides a detailed overview of cloud concepts, AWS core services, architecture, security and support.

The course also prepares students to pursue an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification, which is one of the most popular technical certifications in the world today. In addition, AWS South Africa has provided cloud skills development to youths, who are from previously disadvantaged communities and townships, via the AWS eKasi programme.

Through AWS eKasi, students can complete a one-year training course, which provides a fundamental understanding of software development and cloud computing technologies. This aims to give students the skills for the 'jobs of the future'.

In 2018, AWS announced it will launch its first AWS Region in Africa in Cape Town in the first half of 2020. The new AWS Africa (Cape Town) region will have three 'availability zones' at launch, and will enable customers to run workloads in South Africa and serve end-users across the African continent with even lower latency.

Additionally, it will enable more organisations across sub-Saharan Africa to leverage advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, ML, IoT, mobile services and more to drive innovation.

AWS customers will be able to store their data in South Africa with the assurance that they retain control over it, while those looking to comply with Protection of Personal Information Act will have access to secure infrastructure that meets international compliance standards.

Invitation to apply to the AWS Equity Equivalent Investment Programme

AWS South Africa has invited qualifying 100% black-owned Exempted Micro Enterprises and Qualifying Small Enterprises, within the ICT sector, to apply for the Amazon Web Services Equity Equivalent Investment Programme.

The programme was launched in 2019 and will see over R365-million invested over a seven-year period in the development and growth of black-owned small businesses in South Africa.

This will aim to help entrepreneurs and business owners to develop and enhance their skills in advanced technologies, including:
  • cloud computing
  • Internet of Things 
  • Machine Learning, and
  • mobile technologies.
The programme will additionally strive to enable entrepreneurs and technical professionals in South Africa to build businesses that will play a role in the country's digital transformation.

Successful applicants will undergo an 18 to 24-month enterprise development and incubation programme. During this period, they will receive technical training and support from AWS South Africa, which intends to will result in the programme members becoming AWS certified developers and solutions architects.

These businesses will also receive business enablement support such as 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 can become Select Amazon Partner Network members.

This means that they can move up a tier in the Amazon Partner Network and become an 'Advanced Partner' to further strengthen their business.

Upon completion of the programme, these businesses will have access to AWS's ecosystem of active customers, across virtually every industry. Eligible applicants can read more here and are encouraged to submit their applications by Friday, 10 April.

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