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Standard Chartered Kenya Launches Women in Tech Program Cohort 7 with a focus on Sustainability

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The Standard Chartered Bank, in collaboration with @iBizAfrica – Strathmore University, has today launched Cohort 7 of the Standard Chartered Women in Tech Program under their joint initiative, the Women in Tech Incubator program.

The new cohort joins a 12-week incubation aimed to build business skills, improve access to finance and networks for 15 female entrepreneurs who are leveraging technology to pivot their businesses. 7 entrepreneurs will receive seed capital of USD 10,000 each to grow their businesses. This new cohort is dedicated to the central theme of sustainability, reflecting their commitment to fostering innovation and growth within the tech industry while prioritising environmental and social responsibility.

The launch ceremony which took place at Strathmore University themed “Empowering Women for a Sustainable Future,” was attended by Dr Catherine Adeya, Board Member, Standard Chartered, Makabelo Malumane, Head of Transaction Banking in Kenya and East Africa, Standard Chartered, Dr. Vincent Ogutu, Vice Chancellor of Strathmore University and Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director of @iBizAfrica Incubation Centre – Strathmore University.

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This year’s theme underscores the critical necessity for heightened sustainability measures within Kenya’s startup and corporate sphere. Despite widespread global advocacy for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards in the wake of COVID-19, their implementation in Kenya remains inadequate. A recent survey conducted by the Nairobi Securities Exchange indicates that 15 out of 61 companies adhere to ESG standards, exposing a notable deficit in sustainable business practices. Various challenges, including limited awareness, regulatory loopholes, financial constraints, and a prevailing short-term focus, exacerbate this disparity.

Makabelo Malumane, Head of Transaction Banking in Kenya and East Africa, Standard Chartered, “When women succeed, so do our economies. We cannot build sustainable economies without women. At Standard Chartered, we recognise we cannot empower them on our own and partnerships with like-minded and value-based institutions such as Ibiz Africa (Strathmore University) are why, today, we are continuing to build on our success and reaching more women with our 7th cohort. What stands out most is the impact and ripple effect the programme has in the society.”

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Integrating ESG principles can yield benefits across all business scales, including improved resource utilization and heightened employee productivity. Startups can shape their organizational culture and attract funding by incorporating ESG principles into their strategies. Women entrepreneurs embracing ESG strategies stand to gain reduced operational costs, increased revenues, and enhanced access to talent and funding.

Since its inception in 2017, the program has trained more than 64 women-led businesses leveraging on technology by offering mentorship, advisory, coaching, networking opportunities, access to seed capital, and investor forums that help mold their businesses to international standards. With 32 startups benefiting from seed funding over KES 41 million with over 2,000 applications from the six cohorts, Women in Tech impact on fostering innovation and sustainability in Kenya’s business landscape is undeniable.

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James Musoba
James Musoba
Studying Africa's startup and technology scene. I always look forward to discovering new exciting inventions and vibrant entrepreneurs.

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