HP yesterday commended the first intake of learners and small to medium enterprises that completed a rigorous training curriculum through the HP Business Institute (HPBI).

The HPBI was officially launched in 2007 as HP South Africa's equity equivalent, when it became the first ICT multinational in South Africa to obtain government approval for its equity equivalent proposal, known as the HPBI.
The HPBI forms a core part of the vendor's local broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) strategy, and at the time of the 2007 announcement HP South Africa's investments in all seven pillars of B-BBEE exceeded R150-million.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony in Newtown, Johannesburg, HP South Africa acting-MD Gois Fouche confirmed HP's firm commitment to driving empowerment initiatives in South Africa.
"We are incredibly proud of the first group to have successfully completed the programme," she says. "Through the HPBI programme, we are able to deliver more meaningful transformation initiatives that have a real impact on the communities within which we operate. It is rewarding to see how smaller enterprises have grown through this programme, and it is even more gratifying to see the impact it has had on the lives of learners."
According to Terrence Tuwe, an HPBI graduate who is currently employed by HP partner Aisel Systems, the programme has provided him with an excellent foundation for his foray into the ICT sector.
"The programme has opened doors for many of us to succeed in the industry. The training extended beyond just technical skills and provided us with the business, administrative and soft skills that the industry requires," he adds.
The HPBI is a large-scale enterprise development programme that is driven primarily through skills development. The programme aims to help small to medium enterprises break into the higher-end, more sustainable sector of the ICT market whilst at the same time growing the pool of skilled IT professionals in South Africa.
Con Coms Solutions was honoured as the top performing partner on the programme, having demonstrated ongoing commitment and consistently growing revenues.
"I would definitely recommend the HPBI programme to other partners," says Ishad Patel, owner of Con Coms Solutions. "The HPBI has broadened our horizons and increased our knowledge so that we are better equipped to service our customers confidently. Specifically, the programme opened up a new avenue for us in blade servers and we are already reaping the rewards from a sales perspective."
The HPBI program model is based on research conducted among small to medium enterprises in the ICT sector. As a result, HP constantly assesses and gauges the needs of the industry to ensure that the programmes it delivers are relevant.
In 2009, the HPBI launched three new enterprise development programmes as well as a large-scale graduate programme known as Techie 101.
"The HPBI programme is at the heart of HP South Africa's broad-based black economic empowerment strategy and as a result, we will continue to invest in it to ensure that we contribute to creating wealth for smaller enterprises and develop much needed technical skills for the benefit of the broader ICT sector," says Fouche.