Amazon Web Services targets black-owned firms with key support

AWS has embarked on projects aimed at enhancing skills and diversity among small businesses in SA.

Amazon’s cloud computing division Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced that the intake for its equity equivalent investment programme (EEIP) will close on April 15.

EEIPs are initiatives approved by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, aimed at encouraging multinationals to contribute towards local development.

The AWS EEIP is aimed at small and medium enterprises with a turnover up to R50 million, providing them with 18 to 24 months of business development, entrepreneurship and technical support.

EEIP programme manager at AWS Zakhona Ndlovu said, “Being a good corporate citizen means adding to the sustainable and inclusive growth of the local economies that we operate in. We are consistent in how we do this, whether it's through our flagship programmes for community development or programmes that are unique to specific regions, like broad-based BEE in SA.”

Zakhona says they believe that technology should be built in a way that’s inclusive, diverse, and equitable. She adds they still have a long way to go but are committed to putting in the work for more equal representation.

She believes that it’s only when barriers are broken, doors are opened and more seats are pulled up to the table “that we can truly build for everyone”.

She says by 2026 it is projected that 47 of these companies will have become consulting or technology partners to AWS, and that the company’s commitment to diversity enhances its ability to drive innovation for its customers, as well as being “the right thing to do for our employees.

“We believe in order to continue innovating for a global market, we need a broader representation of talent, viewpoints and thinking. We’re dedicated to providing an inclusive and accepting environment. This includes empowering our affinity groups, adopting inclusive practices and investing in development to support every employee along their career path.”