The Standard Chartered Bank in partnership with @iBizAfrica-Strathmore University has awarded 5 participating businesses in the Standard Chartered Bank Women in Tech incubation program. The five winning businesses will receive Ksh. 1,000,000 each.
The winning firms include
1. Ecila Films – the company produces films of authentic African stories
2. Ufasiri Halisi SLI Innovations – focuses on revolutionizing assistive technology for the deaf and hard of hearing
3. The Viwanda Africa Group – improves flight safety through a cloud-based AI platform for aircraft maintenance and spare parts planning
4. Runnovate – helps business owners save time and reduce the cost of running their businesses by working with a team of virtual assistants.
5. Mandevu Beardcare – is a men’s grooming company offering a beard care product line.
The process was undertaken by professionals from Dry Associates, Viktoria Ventures, Standard Chartered Bank and @iBizAfrica- Strathmore University. The judges made the selection of businesses based on scalability, technology adoption, entrepreneurial and leadership excellence.
This cohort program was launched virtually on 15th October, 2020, attracting 111 applicants, 10 of whom were chosen to participate in the incubation program. The companies have undergone training, coaching and mentorship offered by the @iBizAfrica- Strathmore University network of key industry experts.
The incubator theme for this year was Accelerating the digital economy through women owned businesses, and was geared toward businesses that were tech-enabled or those that leveraged on emerging technologies. These include IoT, Robotics, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Cloud Computing, Drone Technology and Biometrics among others. The businesses also had to have been in operation for at least 3 months with less than 5 years of operations.
Commenting on the winning companies, Kariuki Ngari, CEO and MD, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya and East Africa said, “Sub Africa has a substantial number of women entrepreneurs, yet female led tech startups only account for a very few of these. This is despite research showing that technology firms led by women experience a 35% higher return on investment. Having this in consideration and through engagement with the past participants of the program, we understand that there is a need for enabling ecosystems for women entrepreneurs especially in the technology space which carries enormous potential for growth across many industries.”
Some of the past participants of the program have recorded a massive increase in revenue since incubation and secured further independent seed funding.
Women in Tech program is part of the Bank’s community engagement strategy, Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, that aims at tackling the issue of inequality, with a focus on girls and women. The program is in partnership with @iBizAfrica – Strathmore University Incubation Centre.
Each year the program trains more than 10 SMEs leveraging on technology, by offering mentorship, advisory, coaching, networking opportunities, access to seed capital and investor forums that help mould their businesses to international standards.
So far 30 start-ups have participated, and 15 have been awarded one million each in seed funding. 41 businesses have so far gone through the incubation process with the first 4 cohorts attracting, 1,150 applications.