The Standard Chartered Bank Kenya has given five women-led tech businesses Ksh. 1 Million each as seed funding.

This was after the the successful completion of the third cohort of a tech incubation program launched in 2017 by the Bank in partnership with iLab Africa – a division of Strathmore University. The five winners were selected from a group of 180 companies which competed for the top prize.

The top 5 winning companies are Bena Care which provides home nursing services to people with life-limiting; illnesses across the country; Arbres Biotech – a company which focuses on technology transfer and capacity building in agricultural sector; Nature’s Touch which manufactures nature-based skin care products; Soul Food enterprises which serves Swahili cuisines only; and Taste Afrique which manufactures, distributes and sells natural food seasoning products and mixed spices.

Each year the Women in Tech program through @iBizAfrica Center trains more than 10 small and medium 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. 30 startups have participated to date, and 15 have been awarded Kshs one million each in seed funding.

The program is part of the Bank’s community engagement strategy, Futuremakers by Standard Chartered that aims to tackle the issue of inequality and to promote greater economic inclusion for young people in various communities and economies, with a focus on girls and women.

The Stanchart Kenya CEO Kariuki Ngari, had this to say, “Often, people ask why the focus on women and girls. The reality is that in Kenya and globally, women and girls fall behind in many aspects of development and equality. For instance, in Kenya who constitute about 50% of our population provide 80 percent of Kenya’s farm labour and manage 40 percent of the country’s smallholder farms yet own only 1 percent of agricultural land; and receive just 10 percent of available credit. This is why there still needs to be continued focus on supporting this half of our population. As a bank, we want to do our part in empowering women and girls.”