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 program. The entrepreneurs will go through 12 weeks of mentorship @iBizAfrica where they will be offered expert training in the areas of business idea conceptualization, 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: “This incubator program female led Startups in the ICT sector are envisaged 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 program, which is in its 5th cohort, has helped transform Kenyan women-led startups into fully-fledged businesses that are thriving and contributing to the country’s economy.” Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Strathmore University.
Since its inception the Women in tech program has attracted over 1,800 applicants, trained over 40 entrepreneurs and funded 20 women-led startups from the through partnership with the Standard Chartered Bank. The program 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 program, Joyce Kibe, Head 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 4 years, the Women in Tech program 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 Ms. Kibe.
Ms. 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 microsmall 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 startup businesses to upscale provide better product solutions”