Women in Tech Program awards 7 women-led startups with USD 70,000


24th October 2023, Nairobi Kenya: The Standard Chartered Bank and iBizAfrica – Strathmore University, through its partnership program the Women in Tech Incubator program on Tuesday awarded 7 women-led businesses with USD 70,000 marking the successful conclusion of the 6th cohort of the incubation program.

The award ceremony, themed Leveraging Technology for Impact, was presided over by The Standard Chartered Bank Board Member, Mr. Imtiaz Khan, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya CEO, Kariuki Ngari
Strathmore University Vice Chancellor, Dr. Vincent Ogutu, and iBizAfrica Incubation Centre-Strathmore University Director, Dr. Joseph Sevilla.

The 6th Cohort of the Women In Tech Program which was launched in March 2023, attracted more than 250 startups from various sectors, including agriculture, finance, transportation, health, and construction. Out of these, 15 women-led startups were selected to undergo a rigorous 3-month incubation training focused on business idea conceptualization, strategy formulation, Internet of Things (IoT), marketing, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence.

Speaking during the ceremony, Dr. Vincent Ogutu, the Vice Chancellor at Strathmore University, emphasized the importance of technology in day to day lives and the need for more women to be part of the tech ecosystem. He highlighted that, while only 14.6% of startups in Africa are founded by women, there is hope for greater representation if women receive the right mentorship, training, and coaching. Recent statistics show that 30.9% of all new tech roles are now filled by female candidates, reflecting a positive increase from the previous year. Dr. Ogutu stressed the importance of academia and the private sector collaborating on programs like this to support women-led businesses.

This year’s cohort included 15 teams, an increase from previous cohorts, where 10 businesses were incubated, and only 5 startups per cohort received funding.

Mr. Imtiaz Khan, Board Member of Standard Chartered Bank Kenya & East Africa, emphasized the bank’s commitment to entrepreneurship as a driver of employment and economic growth. Through the Women in Tech program, they aim to empower women-led startups to thrive.

The funding recipients were selected through a rigorous judging process involving industry experts from both the private and public sectors, seasoned entrepreneurs, and academic thought leaders. The criteria included solution innovation, market opportunity, and social impact in Kenya.

The seven awarded women-led demonstrated excellence based on female-led start-up businesses that solve social economic needs in Kenya, innovative startups that utilize emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
and business models with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) alignment.

The Women In Tech Top 7 startups for this year included Sign-With Us, Saidiwa, Imani Health, Know Learning Ltd, PanaCare, Rhea Soil Health Management
and Instruct Africa.

In today’s increasingly digitized landscape, emerging technologies have become essential for startup
innovators to integrate into their ventures. Notably, AI startup funding in Kenya is valued at KES 13 billion according to a recent survey. However, the adoption rate of such technologies in Kenya remains relatively low at 28.76%, falling below the global average of 35.17%.

Since its inception, the program has trained more than 64 women-led 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. To date, 32 startups have been awarded over KES 1.2 million (USD 10,000) in seed funding with the first five
cohorts attracting over 2,000 applications.

Reporting by JAMES MUTUA

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