Microsoft Unveils Modified Multi-Million Dollar Equity Equivalent Investment Programme In South Africa

By  |  March 20, 2019

Close to a decade after Microsoft unveiled the Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP), the company has evolved the programme. Microsoft earlier in 2011 announced the EEIP where they pledged to support black-owned Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), enabling their growth and prosperity.

The software corporation has modified Microsoft EEIP, and it will now focus on investments in technology solutions in agriculture and digital transformation in the manufacturing sectors. It will also entail funding of skills development of South Africa’s young software developers.

Microsoft South Africa managing director, Lillian Barnard said, “these are two areas where government’s priority and Microsoft’s focus overlap. We are evolving the program to meet South Africa’s shifting social economic needs. As well as take advantage of the economic opportunities presented by public cloud and Microsoft datacenters (cloud services) now available in South Africa“.

Microsoft launched the Microsoft Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP) in 2011 as a means of supporting South Africa’s transformation. They launched it in a bid “to take these local partners and grow them into multinational companies, developing software on Microsoft’s platforms, for which they will receive full support.” It was unveiled to basically address the ownership element of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act and approved by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Microsoft’s Equity Equivalent Programme pumps direct funding and business development related assistance into several viable, independent and majority black-owned software companies in South Africa. The programme targets investments that promote socio-economic advancement and development within the South African economy.

Their move to evolve EEIP comes hot on the heels following the launch of two Microsoft Azure data centres in South Africa, which presents opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Microsoft opened the two data centres in South Africa in Johannesburg and Cape Town on 7 March 2019 as the world marked World Women’s Day.

According to Verve Digital MD Charlene George, the launch of Microsoft Azure data centres means women entrepreneurs can now affordably access the latest cloud technology and use it both as a platform to offer services, and take advantage of cloud-based services, like Office 365, to run their businesses

She added that with the cloud computing and the digital transformation launched, women in South Africa would have access to ICT services, unlike before when than their male counterparts who had more access to ICT services.

“Additionally, today’s prospective employee wants to be working with the latest technology and utilising digital tools not only to make their jobs easier, but to enhance and improve their own skill sets,” George commented.

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