Amazon Web Services South Africa (AWS ZA) announced that it has attained Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Level 1 status. As part of the BBBEE Level 1 status, AWS ZA achieved maximum points for Enterprise Development, Supplier Development, and Ownership elements of the scorecard upon first verification. AWS ZA’s other initiatives, contributing to its Level 1 status, include funding for small business, the Amazon Web Services Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (AWS EEIP), and skills development programs delivered through AWS Academy and AWS Educate.
A priority element in the B-BBEE scorecard is Skills Development, which is helping to increase youth skills and employability across the country. For over two years, AWS ZA has been working with education institutions, such as the Durban University of Technology, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, and many more to help train the next generation of cloud professionals through AWS Academy and AWS Educate.
Hundreds of students in South Africa are benefiting 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.
In addition, AWS ZA has provided cloud skills development to youths, from previously disadvantaged communities and townships, via the the AWS eKasi program. Through AWS eKasi, students complete an intensive one-year training course, which provides fundamental understanding of software development and cloud computing technologies, giving students the skills for the jobs of the future.
AWS ZA is also inviting qualifying 100 percent black-owned Exempted Micro Enterprises (EMEs) and Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs) within the ICT sector to apply to be part of the Amazon Web Services Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (AWS EEIP). The AWS EEIP was announced 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 help entrepreneurs and businesses owners develop and enhance their skills in advanced technologies such as cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), mobile technologies, and more.
The AWS EEIP will enable entrepreneurs and technical professionals in South Africa to build businesses that will play a key role in the country’s digital transformation. Successful applicants will undergo an 18 - 24 month enterprise development and incubation program where they will receive technical training and support from AWS ZA and will result in AWS EEIP 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 and move up a tier in the Amazon Partner Network (APN), becoming an Advanced Partner, to further strengthen their business.
Upon completion of the program, these businesses will have access to AWS’s ecosystem of millions of active customers, of every size, across virtually every industry. Eligible EMEs and QSEs can visit www.awseeipthinkbigchallenge.splashthat.com for more information and to submit their applications, by 10 April 2020.
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