Standard Chartered Bank in partnership with @iBizAfrica- Strathmore University, has shortlisted 10 start-ups for the Women in Tech programme. The programme targets women-led start-ups that are looking to scale up their business through technology. 10 Kenyan companies will access 12 weeks of incubation which will culminate in five of them getting Kshs 1 million in funding to grow their businesses.
Standard Chartered Women in Tech (WiT) support female-led entrepreneurial teams with business management training, mentoring, and seed funding. This year’s top 10 teams were selected from a pool of over 350 start-ups that had applied for the programme. The entrepreneurs will go through 12 weeks of mentorship @iBizAfrica where they will be offered expert training in the areas of business idea conceptualisation, strategy formulation, and marketing which is key in moving the businesses from incubation to sustainable ventures.
Dr Joseph Sevilla, Director of @iBizAfrica, Strathmore University said, the female-led start-ups’ incubator programme in the ICT sector is aspiring to transform Kenya through innovation. “It’s remarkable how far we have been able to come on this journey of nurturing women-led entrepreneurial visions from the idea stage to marketable and scalable ventures through our coaching and mentoring sessions on entrepreneurial skills. This programme, which is in its fifth cohort, has helped transform Kenyan women-led start-ups into fully-fledged businesses that are thriving and contributing to the country’s economy.”
Since its inception, the Women in Tech programme has attracted over 1,800 applicants, trained over 40 entrepreneurs, and funded 20 women-led start-ups through a partnership with Standard Chartered Bank. The programme seeks to further educate, mentor, coach, and fund more African female entrepreneurs and innovators whilst also providing women-led startups with practical support to grow and develop their businesses beyond East Africa.
Commenting on the programme, Joyce Kibe, Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing Kenya and EA said, “The programme is designed to help address gender disparity in the technology sector and to use technology to tackle social challenges faced by communities. They are an important part of our entrepreneurship offering within Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, our global initiative to tackle inequality and promote economic inclusion and aligns with our stand to lift participation by creating opportunities for women to contribute to the society and economy”.
The enterprises were shortlisted based on criteria such as demonstrated capacity to execute, clearly defined roles, balanced skill set (team lead, business development, product development, and marketing), leveraging technology, availability of market opportunity, and potential socioeconomic impact in Kenya.
‘’Representation matters and more so in the technology industry which continues to be a key driver and enabler of growth and innovation. However, women, who constitute a higher percentage of the global population are still underrepresented in this sector owing to financial and capacity barriers. Over the last four years, the Women in Tech programme has successfully contributed to filling this gap through capacity building and financing, which has seen participants of the program register sustained growth, create jobs, and foster innovation through technology. We look forward to supporting this year’s cohort and congratulate the 10 businesses that have been shortlisted,’’ added Kibe.
Diana Mutua, Public Relations Manager @iBizAfrica- Strathmore University said, “Access to finance for women has been and still continues to remain a challenge, with a recent study indicating that 68 per cent of women-led MSMEs in developing countries lack adequate access to finance, representing a 1.5 trillion financing gap. Women-led enterprises account for 48 per cent of all micro-small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) which contribute 20 per cent to the overall GDP of Kenya. When we launched this year our theme was Advancing Global Trends In Women-Owned Businesses. These trends combined with capacity building, coaching, and mentoring will provide opportunities for start-up businesses to upscale and provide better product solutions.”
The Women in Tech Incubator Programme is committed to being digital by design, to support female entrepreneurs with technology to grow their businesses. The 10 enterprises who will be starting the 12 weeks of mentorship @iBizAfricathe Women in Tech 2022 are: –
- Pure Purple: A contemporary footwear and accessories brand based in Nairobi Kenya that adds premium value to locally sourced leather, thus creating communal impact.
- Siago: An e-commerce fashion store that makes and sells unique, luxury, free-size dresses targeting the 30+-year-old, plus-size, career woman.
- Aurora Health Systems: A wearable medical device that uses wireless technology to continuously monitor heart rate and abnormal ECG findings. Data is generated in real-time and linked to smartphones for a period of 21 days thus preventing acute cardiac conditions.
- SowPrecise: A farm management system tailor-made for the African farmers to communicate with farm labourers and help them keep track of farming activities.
- Learning Differently Limited: A learning intervention platform tailor-made to support students/learners with learning disabilities. The courses/training equips parents, teachers, and caregivers with practical learnings that they can incorporate to support their learners.
- GoBEBA Everything Ltd: GoBEBA offers online retail of household essentials delivered within an hour. They use technology to provide convenience, reduce costs as well as use machine learning for demand planning and delivery optimisation.
- ON MY MIND: A women’s start-up supporting breastfeeding moms with low milk supply to meet their breastfeeding goals, while also promoting their health and wellness by value addition to organic and wholesome products i.e. (herbal teas and lactation cookies)
- Keyara Botanicals: A skincare label that creates products that take care of your skin naturally with raw materials sourced from African farmers which are rich and of healing quality.
- Sello Design House: A social business that designs and makes sustainable, durable, and timeless bags using leather and kitenge fabric.
- DigiPath Africa: A digital marketing agency that helps organisations and individuals navigate their way online and take their products and services to existing or new customers using digital marketing.