Women in Tech Cohort 5 Launched


Standard Chartered Bank in partnership with @iBizAfrica – Strathmore University has today launched the 5th cohort of the Women in Tech incubator program. The program, which is an initiative of Standard Chartered in partnership with Strathmore University’s @iBizAfrica Incubation Centre, aims at championing for more diversity in technology and for more opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial and leadership excellence.

The program’s theme for this year is ‘Advancing global trends in women owned businesses’, indicating that a high level of consideration will be given towards women owned businesses that incorporate global trends including emerging technologies, sustainability and digital economy accelerants. This is aligned to emerging global trends as well as local post pandemic recovery efforts that have signaled that businesses will need to adopt these trends for sustainable growth.

Maureen Mbaka, Chief Administrative Secretary, represented the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, and said, “Women-led businesses are important contributors to the economy, especially in developing countries where SMEs are estimated to generate 70% of jobs and 40% of economic growth.”

Speaking during the launch, Makabelo Malumane – Head of Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered Bank said, “What makes the Women in Tech program powerful is not just the seed funding it provides, but the long term mentorship/training that the businesses receive. Over 40 women founded start-ups have walked this journey with us.”

The 5th cohort of the Women in Tech program will choose 10 applicants to participate in the 12 week incubation program. These companies will  undergo training, coaching and mentorship offered by the @iBizAfrica- Strathmore University network of key industry experts, faculty, business leaders, experienced mentors, and professionals. Through the incubation, all the entrepreneurs will get expert training in the areas of idea conceptualization, strategy formulation and marketing which is key in moving the businesses from incubation to sustainable ventures.

Speaking during the event, Mr. Emmanuel Kweyu, Deputy Director @iLabAfrica Research and Innovation Centre, Strathmore University said, “SMEs drive innovation and champion local entrepreneurial growth. However, they are often met with many roadblocks including the lack of infrastructure, knowledge and funding that would enable them to scale. This is even more prevalent among women led businesses who often face bias in their entrepreneurial journey. @iBizAfrica recognizes this and wants to bridge this gap by equipping women led businesses with the resources they need to sustain their growth and accelerate innovation. As the world embraces the digital economy, businesses that adopt digital technologies will be the ones that drive growth. By participating in this program, we are certain that this women led businesses will foster digitization, increase job creation and support sustainable economic growth.’’

Among the thematic areas that will be covered in the 5th cohort is post Covid-19 recovery, along with its intersection with the rise of internet media, AI & Big Data, gender diversity in businesses and green businesses. The 5th cohort provides a unique opportunity for women with unique innovations to grow their entrepreneurial success through capacity building, mentorship, coaching and access to financial support.

The Women in Tech program is part of the bank’s community engagement initiative, Futuremakers, that aims at tackling the issue of inequality and promoting greater economic inclusion for young people in various communities and economies, with a focus on girls and women.

Since its launch in 2017, the Women in Tech program has attracted over 1,150 applications supporting 4 Cohorts. Of the applicants, 41 businesses have gone through the program with 20 teams being awarded USD 10,000 each in seed money. Winning teams have ranged from ecommerce platforms to food supply and nutrition, beauty care, education, insurance, and more.

Register here: https://vc4a.com/ibizafrica/standard-chartered-women-in-tech-incubator-cohort-5-program/application/


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