StanChart in Sh23m search for women tech start-ups


Co-founder of Ndovu Women in Tech Alumni Radhika Bachu and Head, Consumer, private and Business Banking Standard Chartered Bank Kenya and East Africa Edith Chumba on March 28, 2023, at Standard Chartered Bank head office, Nairobi, during the launch of the 6th cohort of the Standard Chartered Women in Tech Program. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI | NMG

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya has opened a search for this year’s cohort of women-led technology businesses, setting aside $175,000 (Sh23.1 million) for the contest that will see seven winners get $10,000 (Sh1.3 million) each as seed funding.

Through the Women in Tech Incubator programme, a partnership between the lender and Strathmore University will see a total of 15 businesses benefit from mentorship and entrepreneurial training out of which seven will bag the seed funding.

The sixth cohort since the programme was launched in 2017, the bank has this year raised the number of beneficiaries from 10 trainees and five cash recipients contained in the previous years.

The applications will be open for two months until May 28. Eligible businesses must have been in operation for between three months and two years.

The group of 15 will go through a 12-week incubation that will involve mentorship coaching from top business leaders, technology and legal professionals; an immersive world-class entrepreneurship curriculum; networking and exposure opportunities.

The start-ups will also get free membership to the Kenya Women in Technology fellowship and alumni network upon completion of the incubation period.

“It must be a female-founded business and the female founder must have a majority stake in the company. Business models must also have a clear focus on sustainability and alignment to the sustainable development goals,” said StanChart.

Last year, five businesses, namely Keyara Botanics, Learning Differently, Aurora Health Systems, Sello and Digipath got the prize money in December.

Some of the past winners have attracted funding from local and international investors for scale-up. The local technology space is drawing a lot of interest from foreign entrepreneurs and investors.

E-commerce, digital payments, digital credit and logistics are the areas that have seen rapid growth in the number of players.

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