Five women-led start-ups have received Sh1 million seed funding after completing three-month incubation at iBizAfrica-Strathmore University’s tech incubator.
Soul Food, Taste Afrique, BenaCare, Nature’s Touch and Arbes Biotech were selected from 380 applicants that are using technology to tackle problems afflicting the community.
The five were awarded under the programme dubbed the Standard Chartered Women in Tech Incubator at a ceremony held virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings.
“Women in Kenya make up 51 percent of the population and Standard Chartered wants to continue giving them access to business opportunities, credit, tutoring and mentoring…,” said Standard Chartered Bank #ticker:SCBK chief executive Kariuki Ngari.
He noted that during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become apparent that businesses that have adapted technology are thriving, showing that technology is fundamental.
Soul Food operates six virtual restaurants where it serves Swahili and Nigerian meals, while BenaCare provides home nursing services to people with life-limiting illnesses across the country.
Arbes Biotech generates seedlings using culture technology to provide quality seedlings while Taste Afrique makes and distributes natural food seasoning products and mixed spices.
On the other hand, Nature’s Touch provide health and wellness information to the public, and deliver natural personal care products to customers to meet their daily grooming needs.
The programme is funded by the Standard Chartered Bank and implemented at iBizAfrica- Strathmore University.
“We are very pleased to be part of this great initiative that annually seeks to grow women-led businesses in Kenya,” said @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University Director Joseph Sevilla. Apart from the seed funding, the start-ups will be given membership to the Kenya Women In Technology fellowship programme and alumni network.
The incubation included mentorship, world-class entrepreneurship curriculum, networking and exposure opportunities.
Mentorship was by top business leaders, technology and legal professionals.
The Bank first launched the programme to support women in technology in 2014 at the City College of New York where it created the Women Entrepreneurs Resource Centre.
The US program includes a dedicated workspace, mentorship, coursework and access to an extensive network designed to support entrepreneurs navigating the challenges of starting a business.
The highly interactive event also provided the opportunity to discuss with various investors in the ecosystem the way forward for start-ups in Africa to thrive.