Five women-led tech businesses have each received Sh 1 million in seed funding award from Standard Chartered Bank Kenya to scale up their operations.
The event follows 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 were selected from a group of 380 companies competing for the top prize. they are;
Soul Food– Founded by Chanya Mwanyota, Soul food is a Swahili Restaurant serving Swahili cuisine and Nigeria cuisine which has led to the creation of six virtual restaurants where they are able to provide hassle free, fast and efficient quality diverse meals.
Taste Afrique– Founded by Anzazi Kiti and Winnie Chiwai, Taste Afrique is a manufacturing company that distributes and sells natural food seasoning products and mixed spices called Chibundiro.
BenaCare– Founded by Naomi Monari, Benacare provides home nursing services to people with life-limiting illnesses across the country.
Nature’s Touch– Founded by Diana Ochola and Caroline Ngugi, the two are passionate about adopting natural personal care regimes in their lives. They provide health and wellness information to the public, deliver natural personal care products that are designed for individuals and their families to meet their daily grooming needs.
Arbes Biotech– Founded by Rachael Akeyo, the company is an agricultural startup that generates seedlings using culture technology to provide quality seedlings of various plants to clients and partners in East Africa.
For the first time since inception of the Standard Chartered Women in Tech program the winners were selected and awarded virtually due to the ongoing pandemic.
“This event taking place virtually is a great milestone to show the importance of technology and how businesses are using technology to drive their businesses forward. Women in Kenya make up 51% of the population, we as Standard Chartered want to continue to give women in Kenya access to business opportunities, credit, tutoring and mentoring which will make a fundamental difference in their business outlook. We are also looking to offer more opportunities to women led businesses which will further grow and transform their business.”said Standard Chartered Bank CEO Kariuki Ngari.
Each year the Women in Tech program through @iBizAfrica Center trains more than 40 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.
@iLabAfrica- Strathmore University Director Dr. Joseph Sevilla said “We are very pleased to be part of this great initiative that annually seeks to grow Women led businesses in Kenya. This program over the years has shown a tremendous increase of women businesses with great potential to drive the Kenyan economy to greater heights. We believe in building on the skills of small and medium enterprises that foster innovation and drive change, and we’re proud to be part of the positive impact they are making in the business community.”
The Standard Chartered Women in Technology Incubator Kenya is Africa’s leading women in tech incubator, aligning with calls for more diversity in technology and for more opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial and leadership excellence.
The program is an initiative of Standard Chartered in partnership with Strathmore University’s @iBizAfrica.
The program combines world class startup support with local and international experience to provide Africa’s most competitive and attractive startup incubation program focusing on immersive learning, mentorship, building and growing Africa’s next iconic startups taking on the continent’s most relevant challenges and opportunities.
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 startups in Africa to thrive.
The discussion revolved around the challenges and possible solutions for entrepreneurs to survive and thrive as the effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic continue to unfold. The conversation also forecasted different sectors and opportunities to exploit through innovation and entrepreneurship.