The Standard Chartered Bank has today awarded 5 women-led businesses with KES 1,000,000 each. The businesses were picked from the 4th cohort of the Standard Chartered Bank Women in Tech incubation program that was launched on 15th October 2020 in partnership with @iBizAfrica, a division of Strathmore University.
The funding recipients were picked after a rigorous judging process undertaken by professionals from Dry Associates Limited, Viktoria Ventures, Standard Chartered Bank and @iBizAfrica. The businesses were judged on scalability, technology adoption, entrepreneurial and leadership excellence.
This 4th cohort of the Standard Chartered Bank Women in Tech incubation program attracted 111 applicants, among whom 10 were selected to take part.
Over the last few months these companies have successfully undergone training, coaching and mentorship offered by the @iBizAfrica’s network of key industry experts, faculty, business leaders, experienced mentors, and professionals. The incubator theme for the year was Accelerating the digital economy through women-owned businesses. It was geared toward businesses that were tech-enabled or those that leveraged on emerging technologies such as IoT, Robotics, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Cloud Computing, Drone Technology, and Biometrics among others. The businesses also had to have been in operation for at least 3 months with less than 5 years of operations.
‘’Sub Africa has a substantial number of women entrepreneurs, yet female-led tech startups only account for a very few of these. This is despite research showing that technology firms led by women experience a 35% higher return on investment. Having this in consideration and through engagement with the past participants of the program, we understand that there is a need for enabling ecosystems for women entrepreneurs especially in the technology space which carries enormous potential for growth across many industries.’’ Kariuki Ngari, CEO & MD, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya & East Africa said,
Kariuku said the success of the winning businesses reflects the enormous potential and opportunities that lie in women-led tech startups.
Women in Tech program is part of the Standard Chartered Bank’s community engagement strategy, Futuremakers, that aims at tackling the issue of inequality and promoting greater economic inclusion for young people in various communities and economies, with a focus on girls and women. The program is in partnership with @iBizAfrica – Strathmore University Incubation Centre.
Each year the program trains more than 10 small and medium businesses leveraging on technology by offering mentorship, advisory, coaching, networking opportunities, access to seed capital, and investor forums that help mould their businesses to international standards. 30 start-ups have participated to date, and 15 have been awarded one million each in seed funding. 41 businesses have so far gone through the incubation process with the first four cohorts attracting 1,150 applications.
Winning startups from the 4th cohort are:
- Ecila Films which produces films of authentic African stories
- Ufasiri Halisi SLI Innovations Limited which focuses on revolutionizing assistive technology for the deaf and hard of hearing
- The Viwanda Africa Group which improves flight safety through a cloud-based AI platform for aircraft maintenance and spare parts planning
- Runnovate which helps business owners save time and reduce the cost of running their businesses by working with a team of virtual assistants.
- Mandevu Beardcare which is a men’s grooming company offering a beard care product line.