KCB has brewed a partnership with Strathmore to sponsor 15 women-led tech StartUps

women-led tech

KCB has brewed a partnership with Strathmore to sponsor 15 women-led tech StartUps. The partnership will see the 15 women-led startups undergo 12 weeks of business incubation training under the Women in Tech Program, which is aimed at empowering female entrepreneurs with business management skills, mentoring, and seed funding. At the end of the program, seven of the startups will receive USD 10,000 each in funding to grow their businesses.

The Women in Tech Program, which was launched in 2017, supports female-led entrepreneurial teams that leverage technology to create innovative solutions for socio-economic challenges in Kenya. This year’s top 15 teams were selected from a pool of over 250 startups that applied for the program from different sectors, such as agri-tech, fintech, healthcare, mobility tech, disability tech, and construction. This is an increase from the previous cohorts, where 10 businesses were incubated and five startups per cohort each received funding.

The shortlisting criterion for the women-led tech startups was rigorous and required the selected teams to demonstrate capacity in execution, showcase potential to solve socio-economic challenges in Kenya, and have a balanced skill set (team lead, business development, product development, and marketing) while ensuring that they leverage technology.

Commenting on the program, Standard Chartered’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing East Africa, Ms. Joyce Kibe stated; “I wish to congratulate the 15 women-led enterprises that made it out of a pool of over 250 startups and the rigorous shortlisting criteria to join this forward-thinking, efficient, and transformative Women in Tech Cohort 6 program. As Standard Chartered, we are delighted to have scaled the number from the previous cohorts, where 10 businesses were incubated.” She further added: “Our continued funding of this program is a result of research that indicated that female-led startups in Africa attracted less funding in 2022 compared to male-led startups in the region. Women-led enterprises were more challenged by societal bottlenecks and financing limits, so we are pleased to contribute to closing the gap through increased capacity building and focused funding toward female-led enterprises. I, therefore, encourage the beneficiaries to maximize this opportunity as we empower them to champion more diversity in technology and advance entrepreneurial and leadership excellence.”

Speaking during the selection of the top 15, Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director of @iBizAfrica- Strathmore University said; “The Women in Tech Program has been designed to bridge the finance and capacity-building gap that women entrepreneurs face, and we are proud to have partnered with Standard Chartered Bank to further champion this cause through an additional cohort. I therefore also congratulate the successful beneficiaries and wish to encourage them to take advantage of this program as it will equip them with the necessary coping mechanisms and professional skills through training, mentorship, and financial literacy that will resultantly contribute to their survival and success.” He added: “As Strathmore University, we are confident that the financial contribution worth USD 175K made by Standard Chartered towards the women-led tech startups cohort 6 program will go a long way in uplifting the participation of marginalized groups, tackling inequality, and promoting greater economic inclusion for women entrepreneurs in our country. As I conclude, I appeal to more men, as they constitute the majority of the workforce in the technology ecosystem, to offer more support to women in the computing tech and engineering space by taking up mentorship roles and opening doors for them.”

The Women in Tech Incubator Program is committed to being digital by design and supporting female entrepreneurs with technology to grow their businesses. The 15 women-led tech startups that will be starting the 12 weeks of mentorship @iBizAfrica the Women in Tech 2023 include: –

  1. Ecorich Solutions Limited -A start-up that provides cheap fertilizer. The company has developed a WasteBot decomposer device/smart recycling bin that uses AI-enabled recycling to convert waste to valuable and affordable primary farm fertilizer.
  2. Imani Health Wallet –  An e-wallet that enables people to save specifically for healthcare. It breaks down large payments into piecemeal payments that one can pay easily over time before they need the healthcare service.
  3. Sol Active (fusion) – A web platform where landlords can list their empty retail space for free, and brands can book it  easily
  4. Saidiwa (squad) Rides – A hailing app that aims to bridge the gap between unreliable public transportation and relatively expensive digital taxis.It introduces a novel driver-passenger pairing model that permits daily commuters to share taxi seats and share costs.
  5. Ento Farm – A biotechnology company that produces a protein-rich animal feed based on dried, inactive insects that are produced through the fermentation of organic waste.
  6. AgriTech Analytics – They build innovation capabilities of start-ups and aspiring start-ups in Kenyan universities to help geospatial information systems and AgriTech students develop rare and valuable tech skills needed to come up with profitable and sustainable solutions.
  7. Techtenum Minds LTD – An E-learning platform that aspires to raise subject matter experts through bridging the practical skill gap between traditional academic curriculum and the latest job market needs.
  8. MyAfya Africa – A mental health organization and a digital-health company dedicated to revolutionizing the accessibility and availability of mental health services.
  9. Rhea Soil Health Management Limited – An IOT soil analysis device that allows soil testing and agricultural extension services to smallholder farmers.  A machine learning algorithm is then powered to make recommendations depending on the data shared.
  10. Know Learning Limited (Recess)- A platform that enables parents to participate in their children’s learning processes by partnering with teachers and schools to improve the learning outcome. It additionally ensures that schools and parents are on the same page through the facilitation of transparent and efficient dialogue on the progress of the child.
  11. Sign with us – A Sign language training institution based in Meru and online. The institution teaches sign language to anyone around the world who has a passion for sign language.
  12. Acre-insights – They use drones and satellites to collect high-resolution data on crop growth and development, soil moisture, and other key indicators. Advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to interpret this data and provide farmers with actionable insights to make informed decisions about irrigation, fertilizer application, and pest control.
  13. Instruct Africa – They provide affordable legal solutions to professionals in the informal sector
  14. Panacare: A healthcare company that provides affordable and accessible healthcare services through telemedicine. The company leverages USSD technology to offer consultations, remote monitoring, and tools that help patients manage their health and well-being without the need for internet access or smartphone devices.
  15. Tynka Global – A platform that connects entrepreneurs, experts, and investors, simplifying the process of forming partnerships. The platform’s open database of investors and businesses allows entrepreneurs to showcase their projects and attract potential investors.

Since its inception, the program has trained more than 10 small and medium businesses leveraging technology by offering mentorship, advisory, coaching, networking opportunities, access to seed capital, and investor forums that help mold their businesses to international standards. 50 start-ups have participated to date and 25 have been awarded over KES 1.2 million (USD 10,000) in seed funding. 50 businesses have so far gone through the incubation process with the first five women-led tech startup cohorts attracting over 2,000 applications. Standard Chartered Kenya is a commercial bank that offers a range of financial services such as savings accounts, loans, insurance, investments, debit & credit cards, & other banking services. It has an asset base of over KES 300 billion (about USD 2.7 billion) and serves over 2 million customers across Kenya.

Read: KCB Group joins Pan-African payment platform to boost trade


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